Water heaters serve the purpose of ensuring we have quick access to hot water for bathing as well as for appliances which require it. Malfunctioning or improperly installed water heaters have the potential not only to damage property, but to cause devastating injury to unsuspecting residents. The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers serve the needs of anyone who has lost property or been severely injured due to a water heater accident.
Children are Common Victims of Poorly Designed Water Heaters
It is when water passes 110 degrees that we become uncomfortable contacting it and we are not supposed to remain in contact with water that hot for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, many water heaters are capable of heating water to as hot as 150 degrees and if an installer or manufacturer does not set the temperature correctly, it can result in serious burns to large areas of the body. The most common victims happen to be children who are placed into scalding hot bath water or accidentally turn the heat of the shower up too high.
It is for this reason that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned that the maximum temperature water heaters should be set to is 120 degrees. Between 4,000-5,000 children are injured each year due to exposure to scalding hot water and many of these accidents are the result of water heaters producing water in excess of 120 degrees. The average burn can cover over 12% of the body in third-degree burns.
Additional Causes of Water Heater Injuries
The bathtub is not the only area of the home where the use of hot water can lead to injury. Tap water that is turned on too hot will scald the skin while washing hands or dishes and it is possible for the water heater to malfunction due to manufactural defects or poor installation practices. If the heater is defective, it can leak or explode, resulting in injuries to anyone who happens to be nearby and greatly damaging the home and property inside.
It is important to determine which parties are most liable for your accident and to hold all those who were negligent accountable. The law protects consumers who are injured by defective products by allowing them to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Installers and repairmen are also responsible for ensuring that water heaters are not defective and are set at temperatures which are considered safe for human contact.
In the case of a water heater injury occurring on a rental property, the owner of the premises and / or the management company who runs the day-to-day maintenance of the home or apartment may also be responsible for injuries via a civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death.
Types of Injuries Caused by Hot Water Heater Defects
Young children, the elderly and people with medical conditions such as diabetes and neuropathy are at a greater risk of being injured because they may not be able to tell as quickly when water is too hot. Exposure to scalding water can still cause injury, however, even if the victim quickly removed his or her hand or body from the water after feeling its heat. These injuries include the following.
- Second and third degree burns. Third degree burns have the potential for leaving scars and requiring skin grafts. When victims are scarred, it leaves a permanent reminder of the incident and can result in ridicule over their appearance and the development of emotional anguish.
- Injuries to the ears and eyes. If the eyes or ears are damaged badly enough, it can impact vision and hearing. There have been instances where such burns have resulted in permanent blindness or hearing loss.
- Injuries to the lungs. The inhalation of extremely hot steam can result in internal injuries to the respiratory system, including the trachea and the lungs themselves.
- Death due to long term exposure to heated water or complications associated with other injuries. Third degree burns can be difficult to recover from due to how easily they may become infected and the possibility of internal injuries.
The value of any property that is lost in a water heater accident must be considered as well. If a leak or explosion results in water damage, a fire or other property destruction, it is your right to seek compensation to cover the replacement of anything you have lost.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has helped thousands of people with cases similar to your own secure the compensation they were entitled to under law. If you have been injured in a water heater accident, contact us today to learn more about your rights and how we can help you.
Our award winning Chicago personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that your consultation comes at no risk or financial obligation to you and that if we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, you will not owe us a thing. During your case review, we will gather the information we need from you to be able to get to work on your behalf and will be happy to answer all of your questions about the legal process and which avenues are available to maximize the value of your claim.