Virgin Australia Being Sued For Spilling Coffee on Teen’s Lap

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Virgin Australia is being sued by a 16 year old boy who was burned by hot coffee while flying from Los Angeles to Sydney in 2015.

When I first read the title of the T+L article, “Teen Sues Virgin Australia After Hot Coffee Caused Him ‘Worst Pain He’s Ever Felt’, I assumed that a flight attendant must’ve spilled coffee on him but that was not the case.

The boy, Rhett Butler is suing for negligence related to the tray table.

Soon after taking off, a cup of coffee fell off of his tray table, into his lap. The hot brew caused burns to “his thighs, groin, genitals and midriff”.

So why would the tray table be at fault? It didn’t have a “recess to hold the cup” and it was also “defective and pointing towards” Butler which led to the coffee cup sliding off.

One of the worst parts of the incident is that it occurred soon after take off. Imagine sitting on a plane for close to 15 hours in pain from the burns… Butler went to the bathroom with his Dad and put cold water on the burns.

T+L mentions that there was a “lack of medical attention” from the Virgin Australia crew. The Butlers had to use their own bandages since there weren’t any onboard. The crew only had two ice packs and stopped giving the boy water bottles after they had used a dozen bottles because they wanted make sure there was enough water for first class passengers.

When the plane landed, Butler was taken to the hospital. Virgin Australia confirmed that the accident did take place.

It’s pretty scary to think that the airline had pretty much no medical equipment to help Butler deal with the injury and pain over the course of the flight. I’m curious to find out how much money he is suing for.

Find out more from T+L here.

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