Girl (8) settles case with Ryanair for €150,000 over hot chocolate spill
Posted on 28th May 2019 at 22:01
Passenger on flight from Rome to Krakow suffered significant scald burns, court told
An eight-year-old girl who suffered significant scald burns when a cup of hot chocolate tipped into her lap on a Ryanair flight has settled her High Court action for €150,000.
Sriya Venkata Neti, an American, was travelling on a Ryanair flight from Rome to Krakow, Poland with her parents, when she took a sip of the hot chocolate. She recoiled from the hot liquid and the paper cup fell on top of her.
Hugh Mohan SC, for the child, said she suffered significant burns. A medical report stated the hot liquid pooled on the seat causing extreme burning pain and the child’s mother had to unbuckle her from the seat and her clothing had to be removed.
Where the liquid had hit, the mother reported her daughter’s skin was gone and blisters were forming in other areas and the child was crying.
Upon landing in Krakow, the girl was airlifted to hospital and then transferred to Toronto, Canada where she spent eight days being treated as an outpatient for her burns before returning home to California.
Now aged 11 years old and living in Freemont, California, the child, through her father Srinivas Neti, sued Ryanair over the accident on the Rome to Krakow flight on June 25th 2016. She claimed she had been served a hot chocolate at such a high temperature the liquid could and did cause severe scalding and burns to her.
It was alleged there was failure to provide a safe method of service of hot beverages suitable for minors. It was further claimed there was failure to warn the child of the known danger posed by the temperatures at which the chocolate was served. It was also alleged there was failure to provide any or any adequate assistance to the child and her family after the spillage.
It was claimed, after a time, it was requested she be moved to a toilet for treatment so as not to disturb other passengers. The alleged failure of the cabin crew to provide any adequate assistance to the girl or her parents resulted in the burns suffered being exacerbated, it was claimed.
The alleged failure to provide any or any adequate means of cooling the burns worsened the injuries considerably, it was alleged.
Ryanair denied all the claims.
Mr Mohan said it was a slightly unusual case in that, under the Warsaw Convention, if a passenger on an international flight can show bodily injuries were caused by an accident, an unexpected or unusual event external to the passenger, the passenger need not show negligence or fault as against the airline.
His client suffered burns to her thighs and buttocks and has been left with scarring, the court heard.
In an affidavit, the girl’s father Srinivas Neti said the scarring has now substantially improved and whereas the injuries sustained were extremely serious, his daughter has made a good recovery.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said when Sriya was scalded it must have been extremely painful. She has also been left with scarring but the court was told she has made a good recovery. The judge also took into account the family want to get on with their lives and to put the incident behind them.
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