Baby Burned at Chain Restaurant...

by Martha

I was at a restaurant and two waiters brought our appetizer, chips and cheese dip. As we were all making room on the table the one young waiter placed the plate in front of our 11 month old. Before I could even react he placed his hand into the dish with the steaming hot dip. After a few minutes his fingers blistered up.

The restaurant seemed to deal with the issue okay, the manager came over and took our info. We took my son to an urgent care center and they wrapped his hand. We have to follow up each day for about 4 days, then take him to a wound specialist to make sure he won't need any type of physical therapy treatment.

I spent a lot of hours at the doctors and missed tons of work. Almost 2 weeks later it has about fully healed, and thankfully doesn't need physical therapy.

Would we be able to just settle with the company without taking them to court? How much would I be able to get out of them considering I had to go a few days of not getting paid at work? Do you think they would even care? Thanks for any info you can provide.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Baby Burned at Chain Restaurant...":

Martha (GA):

Nothing is worse than witnessing a child’s injury and resulting pain. How many times have you heard a waiter say when serving, “Be careful, the plate is hot”.

No matter how many times a waiter repeats that phrase, in how many restaurants, and in how many towns, it does not relieve the restaurant of liability for the injuries a “hot plate” may cause.

If you are quite sure your son’s injuries have healed completely, and there will not be any scarring, you are in a position to begin considering a negotiated settlement with the restaurant.

You ask, “how much I would get out of them?” In a case like this, without any lasting or permanent injuries the amount of compensation the restaurant might have to pay would be limited.

Normally the restaurant would pay a multiple of your son’s medical bills, called “Hard Costs”. In a case like your son’s we might suggest you consider multiplying the Hard Costs by three.

Your lost wages would be included in that multiple. Although difficult to prove, your compensation may also include the vicarious pain a mother feels when their child is injured. If you believe your vicarious pain was quite intense, you might consider increasing the multiplier to 4.

These are only rough estimates. The final decision to set an amount as a starting point for negotiations will be left up to you.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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