Kerbey Lane Café at Guadalupe Street is an iconic Austin restaurant, known as a classic breakfast spot and a place for drunken college students to eat and sober up after the bars have closed. It has received criticism in the past for questionable service, but has nonetheless remained an Austin favorite for at least 35 years.
However, there is one couple that suffered a traumatic experience when a server placed a cup of hot coffee right next to their infant. The infant grabbed the hot cup of coffee, which did not have a lid, and spilled the coffee into the child’s booster seat. The child sustained second-degree burns on the upper abdomen and left leg. After being taken to the hospital for treatment, the parents were interviewed by Child Protective Services. The parents are suing the popular restaurant chain for $1 million in medical damages and emotional damages.
Are Restaurants Liable for Burn Injuries?
Typically, courts hold restaurants to a high standard, as restaurants have an obligation to do everything within reason to make sure their customers avoid injury. This is called a duty of care, which includes following government regulations as well as events that might foreseeably cause injury.
The restaurant’s insurance company may point the finger at the parents for being inattentive. However, the restaurant has a responsibility to ensure the safety of patrons. The restaurant has a duty to better train employees on how to handle cups of scalding liquids. Extra attention should be taken while handling hot beverages around small children.
Coffee and other hot liquids are typically served at 140 degrees in restaurants and are definitely capable of seriously burning customers if spilled on them. There have even been cases in the past where customers received third-degree burns in a matter of seconds. One possible solution that could reduce the incidence of burn injuries in restaurants could be to lower the temperature of beverages and better train wait staff to bear in mind safety concerns when handling hot beverages.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison is a personal injury law firm that fights for victims who have suffered injuries due to negligence in the Austin area.