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Scalding injuries may be associated with heat and burns, however, they are specifically in reference to hot liquids. When hot liquids come into contact with our skin, it can cause burns up to the third-degree, nerve damage, and much more.

According to the American Burn Association (ABA), the proportion of burn center admissions due to scald burns has continued to increase each year from 2007-2017. This is a serious and prevalent problem in the United States. When you suffer from a scalding injury, we will be there to help you get justice and compensation.

The personal injury lawyers t Mike Agruss Law have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a scalding injury, contact our office today for a free consultation.

How Do Scald Injuries Occur?

The ABA reported that about 85% of scald burns occur in the home, and the percentage increases to 95% when talking about scald burns for children under 5 years of age. There are many sources that can cause these scalding injuries to occur inside and outside of the home. While these are a few causes, you should remember that this is not an exhaustive list by any means and almost any location or business with hot liquids could possibly run the risk of causing a scalding injury. They could occur in a gym, an industrial workplace, and many more places, as well. However, some of the more common ways that they occur include the following:

  • Cooking, drinking, or serving hot liquids – The ABA reports that hot coffee or other beverages or liquids in the kitchen spilling on skin comprises 85-90% of scald burns.
  • Using many appliances – Outside of the kitchen, appliances such as bathtubs and showers can also cause severe scalding injuries from excessively hot water. And this is not limited to your home – this incident can occur in a hotel’s shower or bathtub due to defective water heaters.
  • In a restaurant – As a guest at a restaurant, you may come into contact with excessively hot liquids in the meal. Also, a worker may get injured from a deep fryer or other hot liquid used in the kitchen.
  • Defects with water heaters or plumbing – The issue causing the scalding accident to occur may be rooted in the design or manufacturing of a heating system or similar product. 
  • Violations of state laws and regulations – There are laws regulating heating systems in the public space which property owners or maintenance staff may violate in handling them.

Types of Scald Injuries

Scald injuries occur when a hot liquid comes into contact with someone’s skin. This can cause burns as well as complications from, particularly severe burns. Much of the injury’s severity will depend on how long the liquid was in contact with the skin, the temperature of the liquid, and how much liquid there was. It is important to note that liquids need not be at its boiling point in order to cause a scalding injury. In fact, a liquid that has a temperature of 140 degrees can cause a third-degree burn within five seconds of it first coming into contact with the skin.

There are laws and regulations regarding a building’s plumbing which should be diligently followed by the responsible party, whether that be a maintenance team, a property owner, a landlord, or other similar individuals. When accidents occur, they can cause very serious and debilitating injuries. Some scalding injuries include the following:

  • First degree burns – These minor burns penetrate the first, outer layer of skin and cause reddening, sensitivity, and peeling.
  • Second-degree burns – This type of burn penetrates the first and second layer of skin. It can cause more intense pain, reddening, and a moist appearance.
  • Third-degree burns – These burns all the skin’s layers and could damage tissue and nerves in the area. They may appear charred black or white. They require more intense treatment and measures to heal the area such as a skin graft, but almost all result in dense scars.
  • Nerve damage – A severe third-degree burn can penetrate the skin to the point that it reaches nerve endings. The damaged nerves can result in no feeling of pain at the point of injury.
  • Infection – After a burn gets through the body’s protective layer, the inner body is more vulnerable to infections that a person may come into contact with. 

Who Is Liable?

Scalding injuries are judged on the basis of negligence, which has four essential elements to be proven. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Illinois is two years. This means that you must file your injury claim within two years of the date of the accident in order for it to be accepted and considered valid.

Negligence involves proving its four elements. First, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. Then, you must prove that that duty of care was breached, which can be shown by the accident itself being caused by the liable party. Then, you must prove that their actions or inactions were the direct and actual cause of the accident that caused your injury. Lastly, you must be able to prove that you did suffer actual damages and injuries which can be proven through medical records and bills, witness testimony, and more. Generally, you should be able to provide evidence that it was, in fact, this accident that caused your damages.

The liable party depends on the type of accident that you experienced. If your accident was caused due to a defective heating system or similar product, then you would have a product liability case. Product liability cases are based on the idea that any and all actors in the chain of distribution of a product can be deemed liable for a defective product released to the public. In this case, the manufacturer, distributor, and/or retailer of the heating system can be found liable for your damages.

If the accident was due to the negligence of a property owner, landlord, or individual of a similar position in inspecting and maintaining a property’s plumbing and heating systems, then the applicable aforementioned party could be liable for the damages. This could be a premises liability case if inspections and maintenance of the property is their responsibility. Premises liability cases are based on the idea that if there was a hazardous condition (without marking or warning to guests) on the property that caused your injuries, the property owner can be found liable for the damages. Maintenance staff could also be found liable for being negligent in maintaining the plumbing or heating systems properly.

If another person caused the hot liquid to injure you by their error, they may be found liable for your damages. If an employer did not properly train you or equip you with the correct safety gear to handle the liquids in your workplace, they could possibly be liable to you.

Overall, it is most helpful to speak with your attorney about your specific situation and who could be liable in your case. After the accident, you should seek medical attention immediately to take care of your injuries and prevent further damage to your body. Then, you should take photos of your injuries and the setting in which it occurred. Try to gather witness statements if possible if anyone was there to witness the accident occur. Then, contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation that will give you a better idea of how we can help you in your specific experience. We will help you navigate this tough process and make sure that you are compensated for the damages that you have had to endure throughout this devastating event.

Damages That Can Be Recovered

Scalding injuries can be painful, frustrating to deal with after, and very expensive. The medical treatment for severe burns can be exorbitant, but that is why we are here to help you. By filing a successful claim against the liable party, you can recover some of the costs of your medical bills which can be proven once we order them for your case. You do not deserve this sudden financial burden caused by another, so we are here to ease it off from your shoulders. Some damages that you can recover after a scalding injury include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Lost wages
  • Future loss of earnings
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a scalding injury, contact our office today for a free consultation.

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