Hot Water Scald Injuries
Alabama Hot Water Scald Injury Litigation
According to the American Burn Association, there are approximately 3,800 injuries and 34 deaths annually in the home due to scalding from excessively hot water. The majority of these injuries involve the elderly, children under the age of five and/or individuals with a disability. The time in which it takes to sustain a significant burn injury can vary greatly depending upon the temperature of the water.
For example, 150 degree Fahrenheit water can cause third degree burns in just one second of exposure. By contrast, it would take approximately 30 seconds of exposure to 130 degree Fahrenheit water to suffer comparable injuries.
To reduce or eliminate the risk of most tap water scald injuries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urges all users to lower the temperature setting on the water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, it would take 8 minutes of exposure to receive second degree burns and 10 minutes for third degree burns.
Such safety steps are easy and inexpensive to perform and can prevent numerous accidents. Additionally, anti-scald devices are available for installation at the point of water usage and can assist in reducing and/or eliminating scald injuries. Often times, however, these safety procedures are not implemented and the results can be catastrophic.
Our firm recently reached a confidential settlement with the property management company of an apartment complex. In this case, a young woman was scalded while taking a shower in her apartment when she suffered an epileptic seizure. While unconscious, scalding hot water caused second and third degree burns to her body. As a result, she was hospitalized for over two months and underwent numerous skin grafting procedures to repair her wounds.
Through the discovery process, we determined that the temperature setting on the water heater in her apartment was set at 142 degrees Fahrenheit and for various other reasons, that should have been corrected, the actual temperature of the water at the point of usage was in excess of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This was an extremely tragic and unfortunate incident that should not have occurred.
If you would like to know more about this case and/or believe you or a loved one may have a case as a result of sustaining a hot water scald injury, please feel free to contact us.
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Pittman, Dutton & Hellums
2001 Park Pl.
Birmingham, AL 35203
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