Any Advice on Compensation from My Son’s Eye Injury?

Updated on November 18, 2018
C.B. asks from Lakeside, CA
15 answers

We went to dinner last weekend to a Japanese steakhouse and my six year old son's eye was burned with steam or oil and he was in considerable pain. His eye was very red and swollen... I took him to the emergency room to make sure no permanent damage was done to it because he said he couldn’t see from that eye, which of course terrified us. We had to travel back home to CA (the incident happened in TX while we attended a funeral for a family member) and he was suffering all the way home. We tried to comfort him with a cool compress and pain medication. It was the worst trip and it was incredibly stressful and frustrating to not be able to help him since we couldn’t change our travel plans. I. am. furious. They need to be more careful with small children. I hope they are more mindful in the future in order to prevent other kids from getting hurt.

Update: after taking my son to the ER here in CA, he was diagnosed with facial cellulitis which I didn’t know but can be a result of trauma. He has to take antibiotics and pain medication in order to avoid serious complications from this incident and from the consequent infection.

After calling and emailing the business they stated that they were very sorry and that they would like to compensate us for what happened. They said to just tell them how much and that they will send a check. I don’t care about the money but I do also feel that they should be responsible for bills, medications and the trouble and stress we/he had to go through. Traveling with our four small children and our son being in constant pain was not a fun experience, especially for him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

***I should add that we were unable to change our travel plans due to financial reasons (it would’ve cost us around $2,000 to change flights to a later date, it’s not like we didn’t try to change plans) also my husband is in the military and only had those specific (3) days of leave. The entire trip was very quickly planned as it was for a funeral. I wanted nothing else but to take care of my son, my children are absolutely my top priority. Always. Believe me when I say I was furious all around. Judging that part of the already bad situation and/or saying that I’m interested in any financial gain other than what is fair for my son’s injury/medical expenses is untrue, unhelpful and not deserved. We have never experienced a situation like this before, I didn’t know what to do and I was simply asking for advice not judgement and finger shaking.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for the well wishes and to those who provided helpful advice. My son is continuing antibiotics until Thanksgiving and will hopefully not have further repercussions. The swelling around his eye is starting to reduce and that is a welcomed relief. We aren’t jerks and aren’t the type of people who would take swift legal action, that was never our intention unless irreversible damage/complications arose. We will be working on settling this with the business fairly. We just want for our son to not suffer further complications and for his bills/medication to be compensated. They are working with us and aren’t asking for us to sign anything which we wouldn’t do anyway for protection. We have agreed to wait until our son has recovered completely and then we can finalize this. Again, thank you.

This was my first time posting something here and to see such ugliness from some is disheartening and disappointing. I would have expected more support, understanding and class from fellow mothers but I suppose that’s too much to ask.

More Answers



answers from New York on

I work for a PI lawyer. Here are some things you may wish to consider:

Where was the parent was the accident happened? Was lack of parental control of the child a contributing factor?

Was the table blocked, gated, signed or had other warnings as to possible injury? Were there signs requiring accompanying a child under a certain age and were those followed?

At what point during the visit did the injury occur and did the victim leave immediately to seek treatment upon injury, or did the victim continue to stay at the establishment for a period of time?

Was the management notified immediately at the time of injury?

Was emergency treatment sought immediately? If not, how much delay was there between the time of injury and the actual treatment by a medical professional (calling a doctor or nurse line does not qualify for medical treatment)?

If no medical treatment was no immediately sought, could the resulting condition of facial cellulitis been caused by the delay in treatment, or inappropriate home treatment of the condition (i.e, victim rubbing area with dirty hands while waiting for examination)?

If you feel that after reviewing these types of questions that your child has a potential case, you should seek a referral for a PI attorney who is licensed in both your state and the state the accident happened in.

Good luck!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I would contact the business again and give them the total amount so far for the 2 ER visits and the medication. Let them know that there will probably be a follow up visit. If you have health insurance and they pay the bills then you are only entitled to your deductible and out of pocket expenses.

If it was me I'd be happy with that and I'd forget about the pain suffering stress that you are adding into this. Having children is stressful. Traveling with them is stressful. Funerals are stressful. If you want more money than just the medical stuff then get a lawyer and go for it but remember that's stressful too and you'll be giving them money from any settlement. Since this really wasn't a serious accident I don't think its worth it.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm unclear on what they did for you at the time of the injury.

They should have called paramedics/ambulance to cover themselves to have your son assessed/eye washed. Even if you didn't have time to go in - he should have been seen. Also, someone on staff should be trained in first aid. The manager should have called you when you got home to follow up.

I had a tiny amount of paint thinner in my eye years ago and it was excruciating. I had to go and get it flushed immediately - because it can lead to scarring and because the discomfort was overwhelming. Poor kiddo.

The other part I'm not clear on is how he developed a bacterial infection.

I hope he feels better soon. I think you'd have to contact a personal injury lawyer as MilitaryMom suggests to see what you're entitled to. It doesn't sound like this was handled very well. The fact that no one followed up with you - that you had to call them - suggests that it's not a very professional establishment. At the very least, the server/wait staff should have notified the manager that an incident took place and got your information.

Good luck

The other thing you left out was how it happened

(someone who has been through this might be better able to share their experiences)


Saw your SWH. You getting upset at moms here for answering how they see fit (based on their own experiences) and telling them off is not cool.

You didn't answer my questions - basically - was the staff negligent. Anyone can get hurt at a business. For example - if you slip on a wet area in a grocery store (that wasn't clearly marked) ... that's one thing. If it's clearly marked with signs, but a child goes running down the aisle, and falls anyhow .. and the staff offers to have the child checked out by paramedics ... but the parents don't take them up on the offer .. that's a different story.

I'm not passing judgement - you just left a lot out of your question.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

What did the ER in Texas tell you? You have left out some important information. Did you talk with manager/staff at time of incident? Did you take him to emergency room after the injury or did you wait until you returned to California?

You need information from a PI attorney who has all the infirmation to help you make a decision.

Here is my experience. I was looking at a store display when a clerk sprayed cleaner in my eye. She knew this happened and notified her manager who told me to go to the ER. In the ER they flushed out my eye and prescribed medication to put in my eye to help with pain and prevent infection. The manager called me to ask how I was. Later someone called to negotiate a settlement. Because the ER visit was covered by insurance and my eye was OK, I accepted amount that paid for time I missed at work.

If you didn't report the injury at the time it happened and didn't take him to the ER before leaving Texas you do not have documation that shows restaurant was at fault for the infection.

I am surprised you waited until you got home before getting medical care if that is what happened. Any hot liquid will burn the skin and eye tissue and there is medication available to help reduce pain and prevent infection.

I don't understand why you couldn't change your travel plans. Taking care of an eye injury should be top priorty.

My daughter became sick when we were traveling. I paid to change our tickets when the doctor said she shouldn't fly. I also used up vacation time and was questioned by my supervisor. In my honest opinion health is more important than anything else. I tell you this because these factors will come into play when working towards a settlement.

If they're offering to pay medical expenses, I'd consider taking it. I would not sign an agreement until his eye is completely healed.

I would consult with an attorney to understand what is reasonable in the legal world.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ETA when you post on a public forum? You cannot dictate who will answer nor how they will answer. You asked for input. People gave it to you. I don't see ANY rude responses. You are the parent. You should have taken MORE responsibility of your son.

Welcome to mamapedia.

Why would you take your son to a Japanese Restaurant and ALLOW him to be close to the fire?? You realize, as a PARENT, you are responsible for him, correct? It's great that the restaurant is trying to compensate you for your irresponsibility as a parent. You're pretty lucky.

If you have health care - what are your expenses going to be? Your husband is in the military - so he should be covered under Tri-Care. Thank your husband for his service and sacrifices to our country. Very much appreciated.

You are not experiencing any out of pocket expenses, correct? So what do you expect to be covered? What do you feel they should compensate you for?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I don't think anyone should work directly with the business in a case like this, unless you just want to provide the medical bills and hope they pay. It's an admission of guilt on their part, and no doubt their attorneys will tell them to have you sign something saying that any payment will preclude you from coming back for more money.

I think you have to deal with your son's treatment until it is done. If you have medical insurance that will cover most of the expenses and you aren't counting on restaurant money right away to cover that, ignore them.

I think you need to consult a personal injury attorney in your area. If you have an attorney for something else (your wills, the closing on your house, etc.), ask for a referral to someone reliable. Do not call anyone you saw on a TV commercial or flyer in the mailbox. You do not pay a personal injury attorney until there's a settlement - then they take 1/3. If you're going for "pain and suffering" damages (which I think will probably mean your son's pain and suffering, not yours in getting 4 kids halfway across country), you need an expert to help you navigate this. I'm not discounting how awful it was for you and the other kids - I just don't think it will make a difference legally. My husband was hurt in a car accident, and no one cared how hard it was for me when he was laid up. So, get sympathy from your friends on that, but keep any legal action restricted to your son.

That person will probably advise you re notifying the Health Department in the town where the restaurant is located. Whatever safety lapses caused your son to be injured might require measures for prevent it from happening to someone else, from changing some of their policies to retraining some staff. Right now, you have very little from the restaurant, but it sounds like you have an email in which they admit guilt in writing. And they are talking to their attorney and insurance agent about how to protect themselves, so they're going to clam up very soon if they haven't already.

If you are saying you didn't take your child to the ER when it happened (but rather at home because you couldn't change travel plans), it's going to be even harder to claim serious injury beyond the bills, IMHO. In the future, do not fool around or delay with eye injuries.

Also, try putting your question's details in the body of the Mamapedia question, rather than in the "So What Happened" feature, which is usually where people respond to the responses or put in an update after people have started replying. A whole lot of people are going to just see this snippet of a question and not even click on it. You're missing out on a lot of advice.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it sounds as if they are trying to do the right and ethical thing. good for them.

you should add up your medical bills thus far, get a reasonable estimate from your doctor as to what you can expect in further medications and doctor visits, and ask them to pay that.

if you go the 'trouble and stress' route you're looking for enrichment beyond indemnification. in that case you'll need to hire an ambulance chaser and sue them.

hope your son feels better soon.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would ask for them to pay for the doctor visit and pain medication. That sounds reasonable to me.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you explained how it happened, it would help. My granddaughters have been eating at Japanese restaurants since they were 2. I assume you were there. How did he get that close? Did the chef do something wrong. Sounds like an accident yo me. If you have any out of pocket expenses, sounds they they will take care of. What else are you looking for?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I’m sorry but I didn’t read any rude responses. Many of them suggested you find an attorney. Some questioned personal responsibility as a parent.

If you aren’t interested in the money, why are you so concerned with reimbursement other than what they said they’d pay?

Many questions need to be answered... where was your son when this happened?? In his seat, out of his seat, under your supervision??

If you went to one of the establishments that cook at the table in front of you... you assume some risk of a potential burn... same concept if you go to a golf tournament, you may get hit with a gold ball, Same with hockey and baseball.

Bottom line, what is it that you really want? I understand your priority is your child (should be) and most businesses possibly have some sort of compensation plan for incidents like this.

I’m sorry if you feel I am rude but In This day and age, people are so sue happy and looking for the almighty dollar to be rewarded to them. I’m NOT saying you are this way.

I believe there is shared responsibility when it comes to accidents with children. Accidents happen, it’s not fun and it can get expensive but a restaurant, theme park, sporting event, etc, should not be liable 100%+. We as parents also need to take responsibility.

Around here, sure you can get a lawyer to sue for anything but you may be wasting your funds to do it, especially if an establishment backs up themselves with counsel.

I agree that a compensation of dr bill and meds would be reasonable and generous. They offered this already so what’s your bottom line?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Please don't settle until you are sure the treatment is completed. I highly suggest an attorney, but only pay an hourly rate(not a percentage).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

CB, Sorry that this happened to your son. I can appreciate being upset as a mom when our kiddos hurt. My daughter was bit in the face by a dog at a friend’s house over the summer. I get how upsetting this all can be. You reached out on this site to get opinions and clearly you don’t like what people said. I read over all the responses and didn’t see any that were mean spirited or unsupportive. My two cents: perhaps you have a tendency to see things as being “done to you”. I don’t mean to sound snarky or add to your sense that this site has mean people. It is just my opinion based on your question and then your response to the questions. I hope your son heals quickly!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I was recently involved in a car accident. A drunk driver totaled my car and I have a back injury. Since I was working at the time and dealing with Workmen's comp and two insurance companies I hired an attorney, best thing I could have done. He advised me to not discuss my injury with anyone especially on social media since that can become evidence. He sent me to a chiropractor who is treating me.
Find a personal injury attorney and let him/her take care of contacting the restaurant and their insurance company. Do not discuss anything having to do with the injury with anyone or on social media.
You should be compensated for the injury, medical bills and any other expenses due to the injury.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You should contact a personal injury attorney, if you are not sure of one you can always call the State or City Bar Association.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

You should get an attorney. My niece fell down a flight of steps at restaurant. After months of dealing with the owner and getting no where she hired an attorney and was finally compensated. I hope your son is doing well.

1 mom found this helpful
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