A State of Michigan appeals court is ruling in favor of a 10-year-old girl and her family after she suffered burns to her feet while on the property of the Watervale Inn. The Detroit Free Press reports that the injury occurred on the inn’s beach where someone buried the remnants of a bonfire under the sand. The girl was playing on the beach and accidentally stepped on the hidden coals, causing contact burns to her foot.

The Watervale Inn, a recreational establishment that has been in Arcadia, Michigan for over a century, claims the girl’s injuries are not its fault. The original Benzie County ruling cited a Michigan law that allows businesses like Watervale Inn to limit liability for recreational accidents on their property. However, in a 3-0 decision, the appeals court ruled the girl was not engaging in dangerous recreational activities. Rather, the court agreed she should be free to play on the beach without fear of a preventable burn such as this one.

The family’s burn injury claim states that the inn knew guests tend to make bonfires on the beach, and it should have better policed the area for those hazards.

Outdoor Burn Risks Come in Many Forms – Know Your Rights

This family is already seeking compensation for their daughter’s burn injuries because they say the inn’s negligence caused the accident. Outdoor burns are very common in beach and camping settings where visitors regularly use bonfires, grills, and other heat sources.

Outdoor burns can also happen when others are reckless with fireworks and campfires, both of which you should use only in areas clear of dry brush. You should not use any outdoor fire or heat source unless there are adequate fire suppression methods like extinguishers or water sources nearby.

It is important to remember basic burn first aid when you suffer a burn outside. Applying initial treatment before help arrives can reduce the overall damage and alleviate some of the discomfort before you can get to a hospital. For more information on burns, visit our blog.