Case taken after girl spilled hot chocolate on lap during flight settled

Aer Lingus

20 July 2021

A teenager who claimed she was scalded when hot chocolate fell on her lap during an Aer Lingus flight has settled her High Court action for €20,000.

Joy Lonergan was aged 13 and was travelling from Barcelona to Dublin when the accident happened on July 16th 2018.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons was told liability was at issue in the case

Ms Lonergan, now aged 15, had through her mother, Michelle Culliton, Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny, sued Aer Lingus Ltd.

In an affidavit, Ms Culliton said the spillage happened as Joy was returning home with the rest of her family from a holiday in Spain.

Ms Culliton said hot liquid spilled on her daughter’s lap and thighs.

Joy was immediately treated for her burns by air stewards who applied cold water and cooling gels and gave her paracetamol for pain relief, Ms Culliton said.

Her daughter was in considerable pain and distress and cried for the duration of the flight.

After the aeroplane touched down in Dublin, the girl was transferred to Temple Street Children’s Hospital for treatment.

The burns were dressed and she was prescribed anti-inflammatories.

Joy’s dressings had to be changed over the next three weeks and she was in distress and discomfort, Ms Culliton said. The burns later cleared up and in December a consultant examined the thigh area and found no residual evidence of burns.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Simons said the girl suffered very unpleasant burns and it was to the credit of the Aer Lingus stewards that they tended very quickly to the accident.

The judge who had read the medical reports said the burns had healed up though the young girl had an unpleasant time for a number of weeks.

He noted the airline had not conceded liability and that €20,000 was the full value of the case.

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