Over 500,000 people receive medical treatment for burn injuries each year. The total number of injured include an estimated 3,500 deaths from residential fires, and 500 deaths from motor vehicle, aircraft crashes, contact with electricity, chemicals, hot liquids, and other substances. Out of the 500,000 treated, 40,000 are hospitalized, often for long periods of time. www.ameriburn.org/resources_factsheet.php.
How do burn injuries occur? Of the total reported cases, 46% involve burns due to fire or flame, 32% due to scalding, 8% due to contact with a hot object, 4% due to contact with electricity, 3% due to chemicals, and 6% related to other causes.
Injuries from burns are often serious. Burn injuries can cause severe pain acutely and permanent disfiguring injuries, which are often accompanied by long-term emotional distress. Victims will often undergo multiple surgeries and medical care over a long period of time. Despite advances in medical science, including skin grafting, victims of burn injuries often suffer profound permanent injuries.
In addition to medical expenses, burn victims may be entitled to recovery for pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of a normal life, and disability, including loss of income as a result of a burn accident.
Attorney John J. Malm is experienced in handling burn cases, whether due to an accident, or a work injury.
Chicago Apartment’s Hot Water Heater Causes
Severe Scalding Injuries to 5-Year-Old Boy:
The Illinois burn injury lawyers at the law firm of John J. Malm & Associates have been retained by the family of a 5-year-old boy to bring a claim against the owners and operators of an apartment complex in Chicago after the boy suffered third degree burns to his hands from hot water in the bathroom of an apartment that he and his family were visiting. The water heater for the apartment was set too high, allowing water to reach dangerously high temperatures. The boy was severely scalded when he washed his hands in the bathroom sink. He suffered severe and permanent injuries to both hands, became hospitalized for nearly a month and required multiple skin grafting surgeries. According to Attorney Malm, “hot water heaters, if poorly maintained or set improperly, present a significant risk of burn injury to children.”
Younger children are especially at risk when it comes to thermal burn injuries (“scalding”) from heated water. Water that is heated to even 127°F can easily burn all the way through the skin layers within a few seconds. When water is heated to temperatures of 160° to 180°F (the temperature of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, for example), it causes instantaneous third degree burns will result, requiring surgery and skin grafting. Attorney Malm believes that “the evidence will show that the water heater for the apartment had been set improperly, allowing the water to be heated to excessively high temperatures.”
Scalding or liquid burn injuries from water heaters may result in life-long scarring, and even death. Water heaters should be checked regularly to make certain that the temperature is kept at a safe setting to prevent injury.