Grandma to pay granddaughter $90,000 for hot water burns

A BURNS victim has successfully sued her elderly grandma for more than $90,000 over a childhood scalding accident which left one of her breasts deformed.

Coffs Harbour's Kobie Thompson was a toddler when she pulled on a cord of a boiling kettle, causing it to tip over the edge of a bench and splash hot water all over her at her grandma's Central Coast home.

The NSW District Court heard Ms Thompson, who is now 30, suffered serious burns to her right nipple, abdomen, leg and foot.

While she had no memory of the accident, Ms Thompson told the court she was aware of "looking different" as a child and would get embarrassed at sleepovers.

The burns, she said, caused her the most trouble in her adult life.

She said she felt embarrassed by her scaring and was concerned her inability to breastfeed her children had resulted in unfair judgement of her capacity to be a good mother.

She was also worried her appearance would hamper her prospects of finding a new partner.

Ms Thompson's grandmother defended claims of negligence on the grounds she was preparing dinner at the time the accident occurred, and believed her granddaughter was being supervised by her mother.

But Judge Michael Elkaim found that "a reasonable person…knowing that children as young as 20 months of age would be in the area, and having regard to what one might expect of the level of personal safety capable of being exercised by such a young child, that precautions would have been taken".

He said "the burden of taking precautions would have been very light…the kettle could simply have been located in a safer place" and ruled that the mother's supervisory role didn't interfere with the link between the negligence of the grandma and the scalding of the child.

Taking into account past and future economic loss and medical expenses, he ordered the grandma to pay $92,909.10 in damages.

The court heard Ms Thompson would likely use at least $10,000 to fund reconstructive breast surgery.

Topics:  compensation court

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