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Hot Liquid Burn

Hot liquid burns can happen from a variety of causes. Every day, Americans suffer serious burns from hot liquid spills. A scalding liquid can cause the most serious types of burns, from first-degree to third-degree burns. Serious burn injuries are also excruciatingly painful and can take a significant amount of time to heal. When hot liquid causes third-degree burns, surgeries, including skin grafts, might become necessary to reduce the chance of infection and make cosmetic repairs.

Plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery is not only expensive, but it also requires time off from work to recover. If you or your loved one have suffered hot liquid burn injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your free, initial consultation with one of our skilled Charlotte burn injury lawyers.

The Famous McDonald’s Hot Liquid Lawsuit

Many people remember the lawsuit that took place after an elderly customer spilled a piping-hot cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself. The case is a perfect example of the types of severe injuries caused by hot liquid accidents. The 79-year-old customer received a jury award of almost $3 million dollars in punitive damages. The woman held the coffee cup between her knees and took off the lid to add cream and sugar. As she took the lid off, the cup tipped and the coffee spilled all over her lap. Contrary to public legend, the coffee was not just hot, but extremely and dangerously hot.

At the time of the accident, the McDonald’s manual required franchisees to keep coffee between 180 and 190 degrees. At that hot temperature, the liquid can cause third-degree burns within three to seven seconds on contact with skin. The scalding hot coffee caused serious third-degree burns and the victim had to receive skin grafts at the site of the burn injuries. The judge reduced the award by over 80%, but the woman and McDonald’s later reached a confidential settlement.

Common Causes of Hot Liquid Burn Injuries

Scald burns are the most typical injury resulting from hot liquid burns. Scald burns can happen anytime steam or hot liquid comes into contact with the skin. Scalding burns can also happen due to hot oil or other similar medium coming into contact with the skin. Hot oil burns are often more severe than burns caused by water or steam because oil is capable of reaching higher temperatures while maintaining its liquid state. Many hot oil burns result in instant third-degree burns.

Many liquid burn injuries take place on the job, particularly in construction jobs. Manufacturing plants often process hot food, or hot liquid, or expose workers to products used to process steam. Construction sites often require the use of hot roofing tar or radiator oil. Other common causes of scalding burns include the following:

  • Carrying a container full of hot liquid can cause hot liquid burns
  • Hot liquid burns from the oil in deep fryers can happen to restaurant workers
  • Steam from microwaves and other cooking equipment can create a serious liquid burn risk. Steam can easily reach temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit and higher
  • Pressurized cooking equipment can cause a dangerous explosion that results in hot liquid and steam burning employees hands and fingers
  • Tripping or slipping while carrying hot liquid off of counters or stovetops can cause serious injuries
Hot Liquid Burn Injury Degrees of Severity

Medical professionals classify hot liquid burn injuries into three different categories:

  • First-degree burns are the least severe burns that cause the outer layer of skin to swell, become red, or cause pain. First-degree burns often heal within a week or two and usually do not require extensive medical intervention.
  • Second-degree burns are often incredibly painful. Second-degree burns damage the top layer of skin and the skin beneath the top layer of skin. Those suffering from second-degree burns might face blisters and deep redness around the burn area. Second-degree burns cause the risk of infection to become greater.
  • Third-degree burns are the most serious types of burns caused by hot liquid. Third-degree burns damage every layer of skin. Third-degree burns require immediate medical attention. Third-degree burns can cause permanent nerve damage and permanent scarring.
Our Liquid Burn Injury Lawyers can Help

If your liquid burn injury is due to the negligence of an employer, landlord, contractor, leasing agent, or restaurant, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the skilled personal injury lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to learn how we can help you fight for your right to compensation.

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