Burned by Hot Water at a Restaurant...

by Jeannine
(Redmond, WA; U.S.)

I was at a work fundraiser event. The waitress asked me if I wanted hot tea. I said yes. The cup was on the edge of the table. I moved it more into the center of the table, as I was concerned about a possible accident.

The waitress told me to please leave it at the edge of the table until someone came by to fill it (with hot water). A few minutes later, a waitress began filling it. Just at that moment, the lady next to me raised her bid card.
The cup went flying and the scalding water spilled onto my left wrist and stomach. I ran to the bathroom to splash cold water on the burns.

They gave me an ice pack and I spent the rest of the event in the bathroom, trying to cool the burns and ease the pain. I did not go to the ER. I was in a lot of pain the first night; second and third nights, not so bad.

I have second degree burns (I had blisters) on my wrist and stomach. I went to the doctor, who prescribed medicated cream for 10 nights and to keep the burns covered. I had a lot of itching during this time, which kept me up at night. The burns look terrible; they are dark red. The one on my wrist is about 2 x 1.5 inches. The ones on my stomach are about 2 x 1.5 and 2.5 x 2.5 inches. I went back to the doctor and he told me the pigment may or may not go away.

Do I have a claim, and how much can I expect for pain and suffering?

I have also spent over $100 on insurance co-pays, the prescription, and bandages. I don't know if I've met my deductible, so this amount may be more. An insurance company from the restaurant has already contacted me, but they are closed today, so I cannot speak with them. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Burned by Hot Water at a Restaurant...":


There are few things which hurt more than a burn. Yes, you do have a claim for actual damages and pain and suffering. Determining who will be responsible for paying that claim will be your next step.

You are already at a stage where an insurance company is calling. It is important to identify which insurance company is attempting to contact you. It could be the insurance company representing the forum where you sustained your injury, or it could be the insurance company representing the folks who were putting on the event.

If you decide to speak with a Claims Adjuster from either insurance company you should know he or she will be recording every word you say. One purpose of the call is to elicit your recollection of the facts. Another purpose is to formulate an idea of the seriousness of your claim. Once you commit to a set of facts you will be forever bound by your statements, so knowing what you are going to say is crucial.

You should not commit to any form of settlement until you are completely finished with your treatment, including plastic surgery if necessary. With the limited information we have it is impossible to quantify any amount for payment for pain and suffering. It does though appear your case certainly merits a substantial settlement.

In more serious claims like yours, it really would be a good idea to sit with a qualified Personal Injury Attorney for an evaluation of your case. Most Attorneys do not charge any fee to help evaluate a person’s claim. You can then proceed to represent yourself if you wish, or choose to retain the attorney.

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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