Sure, we inadvertently step into a shower or a bath thinking the water is one temperature, but we quickly realize it’s much hotter than expected. Since the result is normally a bit of irritation, we turn the heat down and maybe scream (or wince) in surprise. Aside from a jump in heartrate and a small sting, the issue is resolved once the temperature is lowered to prevent any long lasting harm.
However, there’s instances where more pain and injury is caused by extremely hot water. Whether it be sub-par management of property or poor design, it can make this brief surprising moment something that leaves long lasting problems or lasting injuries. In the United States alone, there’s well over 500,000 scald burns that take place every year. The worst part is that many of these burn and scald injuries could have been avoided if the property managers, hotels, apartment complexes, and hot water manufacturers followed the law when it comes to heating water to a temperature that isn’t so dangerous.
If you or you happen to have a loved one who has been severely injured by burning water, it’s possible that you may be eligible to recieve compensation. So with this being said, here’s a deeper dive on water burns and what to do in a burn injury lawsuit.
Water Temperature & Safety
As far as safe shower and bath temperatures, the maximum temperature that is considered safe is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. More often than not, this number is usually noted on the hot water heater itself. Water heaters often have a water temperature toggle and safety labels that state the maximum temperature of 125 degrees, with the 5 degree difference accounting for the temperature drop while the water leaves the heater and comes out of the shower head.
So why is 120 degrees listed as the safest temperature for water? Well, this is due to the fact that 133 degree hot water can give one third-degree burns in roughly fifteen seconds. If the water happens to be 156 degrees, a third-degree burn can happen in roughly one second.
But given these facts regarding safe water temperature, there’s property managers, apartment complexes, and water heater manufacturers who refuse to follow the law.
One of the main reasons how a tenant is scalded by extremely hot water is due to the fact that simply setting a water heater to 125 or 120 degrees doesn’t mean that the water will only peak at such temperature. Extreme temperatures will still occur if the temperature gauge isn’t correct or if the heater itself isn’t uniform. Since water heaters oftentimes heat the water from the bottom of the heater, the water inside doesn’t remain 125 degrees evenly throughout the heater. In addition to this, the pressure changes within the tank can have an impact on the overall water temperature.
Simply relying on the controls of a hot water heater are imperfect, which is why many states go out of their way to regulate the temperature with laws so that property managers, hotels, and apartment complexes must install safety equipment so that their customers can utilize their shower/bath without the possibility of being burned.
Water Heater Defect Cases
Many shower and bath burn injuries are against property managers, hotels, and apartment complexes due to the fact they failed to follow regulations. However, there’s certain circumstances where the water heater manufacturer is to blame for the mistake. A hot water heater is designed with a dip tube that is built to push cold water from the bottom of the tank so it can make contact with the heating element. However, if the dip tube is faulty, the hot water will only become hotter and cause burn injuries.
Another manufacturer issue could come with the pressure valve. A defective pressured valve can cause the hot water inside to become too hot, which (in worst case scenarios) make the hot water heater explode.
Since most shower and bath burn cases occur due to property management or property owner negligence, it’s important to preserve a water heater in the event you’ve been burned to prove your case.
If You’ve Been Burned/Injured
In the event you or a loved one has been injured by hot water in a shower or a bath, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. If the injuries occurred due to neglect from another party, whether it be a hotel management company, a landlord, or a manufacturer, it’s important to seek legal help as soon as possible so all evidence can be preserved immediately.