Friday 23 August 2019

Girl (8) scalded by hot chocolate on Ryanair flight settles for €150k

Stock Image: PA
Stock Image: PA

Tim Healy

An eight-year-old girl who suffered second-degree scald burns when a cup of hot chocolate tipped in to her lap on a Ryanair flight has settled her High Court action for €150,000.

American Sriya Venkata Neti was travelling on a Ryanair flight from Rome to Krakow, Poland with her parents, when she took a sip of the hot chocolate but recoiled from the hot liquid and the paper cup fell on top of her.

Her Counsel Hugh Mohan SC told the High Court the little girl suffered significant burns.

A medical report handed in to the court said 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 was then transferred to Toronto, Canada where she spent eight days being treated as an outpatient for her burns before returning home to California.

Sriya Venkata Neti, who is now 11 years old, and lives in Freemont, California had through her father Srinivas Neti sued Ryanair over the accident on the Rome Krakow flight on June 25, 2016.

She had claimed she had been served a hot chocolate at such a high temperatures that the liquid could and did cause severe scalding and burns to her and there was an alleged failure to provide a safe method of service of hot beverages in particular hot chocolate suitable for minors.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to warn the little girl of the known danger posed by the temperatures at the which the chocolate was served.

It was also alleged there was an alleged failure to provide any or any adequate assistance to the child and her family post spillage and that after a time it was allegedly requested the little girl be moved to a toilet for treatment so as not to disturb other passengers.

The alleged failure of the cabin crew it was claimed to prove any adequate assistance to the girl or her parents allegedly resulted in the burns suffered being exacerbated.

In particular, it was claimed the alleged failure to provide any or any adequate means of cooling the burns worsened the injuries considerably.

Ryanair denied all the claims.

The girl's counsel Hugh Mohan SC told the court it was a slightly unusual case in that  under the Warsaw Convention if a passenger on an international flight can show that bodily injuries were caused by an accident, an unexpected or unusual event that is external to the passenger, then the passenger need not show negligence or fault as against the airline.

The young girl suffered burns to her thighs and buttocks and has been left with scarring, the court heard.

In an affidavit to the court, 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 and the condition of her injuries has improved considerably.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross said when Sriya was scalded it must have been extremely painful. The young girl has also been left with scarring but the court heard she has made a good recovery. He also took in to account that the family now wanted to get on with their lives and to put the incident behind them.

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