A water scalding injury can be as serious as a burn injury from contact with fire or from exposure to a chemical. Scalding injuries are fairly common in the United States. More than 112,000 people each year are admitted at emergency rooms for treatment (AHA, CDC).
Many scalding injuries occur at home, but a negligent restaurant owner or food server may cause a burn by serving excessively hot liquid. If you are renting a home, your landlord is responsible for making sure your water heater is properly working.
The temperature for domestic hot tap water must not exceed 120° Fahrenheit, according to the International Plumbing Code, known as the IPC Standard. Most water heaters can push the temperature up to 140 degrees, but that will burn a user.
People might not expect to be at risk of injury from a tap, but a water heater malfunction may occur suddenly in a home or commercial system.
The risk of water scalding injury rises significantly if the water temperature exceeds 120 degrees. It would take 8 minutes of exposure to water heated to 120 degrees to sustain second-degree burns, and 10 minutes to sustain third-degree burns.
A water heater that has raised the temperature to 150 degrees can cause third degree burns in just one second. At 130 degrees, it would take about 30 seconds to sustain comparable injuries.
The thinner skins of small children and senior citizens make them most vulnerable to water scalding injuries. Additionally, small children also do not exercise the same degree of judgment as adults. A child may not be able to recognize tell-tale signs like steam rising from tap water that indicates scalding temperatures.
If you have suffered a water scalding injury in Pennsylvania, contact Metzger Wickersham for the knowledgeable representation you need and the personal attention you deserve. One of our lawyers may be able to assist you.