The European Court of Justice ruled Thursday that airlines may be liable to harm caused by hot coffee.
The case relates to an incident that occurred in 2015 when a 6-year-old girl was burned on a flight after her father’s hot coffee spilled onto her. The actual cause of the spill remains unknown. The airline, Niki Luftfahrt GmbH, contended that because the incident was not sudden nor unexpected, the spill cannot be considered an “accident,” and thus the airline cannot be held liable for damages.
However, the Court disagreed, ultimately ruling that the term “accident,” “covers all situations occurring on board an aircraft in which an object used when serving passengers has caused bodily injury to a passenger, without it being necessary to examine whether those situations stem from a hazard typically associated with aviation.”