Tap-water burns are among the most common of all burn types. Because they often cover large portions of the body, hot-water burns can be extremely serious and are sometimes fatal. Children are particularly susceptible to these burns, whether they result from an accident or are intentionally inflicted in cases of child abuse. Often, the burns result from a hot water heater on which the thermostat has been improperly set.
If your child has been injured by a tap-water burn due to someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from the individual responsible. Contact child tap-water burn attorney Jeff Killino at 877-875-2927 to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options.
Tap-Water Burn Symptoms and Treatment
Patients with tap-water burns experience symptoms similar to those from other forms of burns. These symptoms may include:
Treatment of a tap-water burn varies depending on its severity, but physicians recommend running cold water over the burn or applying an icepack as a first step. If the burn is severe or the child is in pain, a visit to the emergency room may be warranted.
Prescription pain relievers and antibiotics may be prescribed in order to control symptoms. In serious cases, skin grafts and long-term hospitalization may be required. Such treatment may be extremely costly, resulting in tremendous financial hardship.
Legal Liability for Tap-water Burns
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), tap-water burns account for approximately 3800 injuries and 34 deaths each year, the majority occurring among the elderly and children under the age of five. In nearly half of the cases involving children, the injured child or another child turned on the tap water that resulted in the child’s scalding.
Duty of Care
These statistics reveal the importance of vigilance on the part of any adult with the responsibility for watching over a child. Any adult who undertakes to supervise has a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep that child safe while the child is in his or her charge. A babysitter, nanny, teacher, or childcare worker, has such a duty under the law when a child has been put under that person’s supervision or care.
Breach of Duty of Care
Tap-water burns rarely occur to small children in the absence of a breach of the duty of care on the part of adults who have undertaken to supervise a child. If a hot-water heater is set to release water that can easily scald and the owner or operator of the home or establishment in which the water heater is located fails to adjust the setting to a lower temperature when children have access to tap-water, that person may be found to have breached his or her duty of reasonable care to keep the child safe while under that person’s supervision.
If a supervising adult does not have access to a water-heater and cannot adjust its settings but knows that the tap-water in a building in which a child under the adult’s supervision is excessively hot, the adult supervisor may be found to have breached the duty to exercise reasonable care for the child’s safety by failing to monitor the child at all times during which the child might have access to the tap-water and to ensure that the child is kept away from the tap.
If another child turned on the tap-water that caused a burn injury to your child, the parents of that child may also be considered negligent under certain circumstances. If, for example, the child’s parent or parents were aware that the child was left with your child without adult supervision, that parent may be found to have been likely to know that your child could suffer serious injury as a result.
Burns Caused by Child Abuse
Tap-water burns caused by intentional child abuse have also been reported and may be the subject of litigation against the person responsible. If the abuser is an adult, the individual may be sued in a civil tort action for civil assault and/or battery, and may face criminal prosecution, as well.
If the perpetrator is another child, additional complications will exist. The injuring child’s age and level of understanding may become relevant to determining his or her level of intent and culpability. The parent of the injuring child may also be made a defendant, as parents may be held liable for damages caused by the torts of their children under many circumstances in certain states.
Though tap-water injuries can result from intentional abuse, they more often result from someone’s negligence. If your child has sustained a tap-water injury as a result of someone’s negligent or intentional behavior, contact child tap-water burn attorney Jeff Killino at 877-875-2927 for more information on your right to compensation.