An Australian teenager who suffered burns to his groin area after cabin crew on a Virgin Australia flight spilled a cup of hot coffee on him is suing the airline for damages.

In a claim filed in the Victorian County Court, Rhett Butler, 16, said he suffered burns, blisters and scarring to his thighs, groin, genitals and midriff after the coffee slipped from a tray table onto his lap during a flight in May 2015.

Virgin Australia confirmed on Monday that "an incident did occur on flight VA2 from Los Angeles to Sydney on 3 May 2015."

The tray table did not have a recess to hold a cup securely and was defective, tilting downwards towards the teen, the teenager's claim alleged.

The incident occurred shortly after take-off on a 15-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Rhett's father Brian had to provide medical assistance for the rest of the flight as there was no help from the crew, the claim added.

"Virgin Australia takes the safety and comfort of our passengers extremely seriously, however given this particular matter has not yet been resolved it would not be appropriate to comment any further," a company spokeswoman said in a statement.