Hot Water Burns

Scalded by Hot Water in Your Apartment?

Thousands of people are burned by scalding hot water every year. New York City regulations require apartment buildings to deliver hot water to bathtubs, showers, and bathroom sinks at no less than 120 °F. Serious burns can occur at 124°F.

NYC apartment landlords often fail to comply with the many New York City and building code regulations for the installation and maintenance of hot water safety equipment.

Get the attorneys at the HURT911® Personal Injury Dream Team on your side! Let us hire an expert engineer plumber to determine the exact cause of your hot water burn and prove that your landlord, was 100% at fault.

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Serious Burn from Hot Water?

This chart shows how long it takes to get a serious burn from hot water in your apartment. The chart shows that you can get a serious burn in three minutes at 4° above the temperature required of landlords for New York City apartments.

While a serious burn can be caused in only one second at 156°F, a search online found people discussing the fact that the hot water in their New York City apartment was erratic and sometimes reaching above 180°F.

hot water temperature burn chart for hot water in New York apartments

When water is 156 degrees, a serious burn injury can be caused in only 1 second and in 2 seconds at 149 degrees. At 140 degrees, it takes 5 seconds; and at 133 degrees it takes 15 seconds.

Water Temperature | Length of Time to Cause A Severe Burn
156°  |  1 second!
149°  |  2 seconds
140°  |  5 seconds
133°  |  15 seconds
127°  |  60 seconds
124°  |  3 minutes

People usually take a bath or shower with water between 90 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. So why does New York City require hot water at a minimum of 120°, only 4° below a dangerous temperature, to be delivered to your apartment?

See the Hot water fact sheet for buildings in New York City.

If hot water was delivered at a cooler temperature, by the time it arrived in your bathroom, it would not be hot enough, particularly with large apartment buildings in New York.

You don’t take a shower or bath using 100% hot water. You mix it with cold water. If you did use 100% hot water, three minutes of using 100% hot water is a long enough time for someone to realize that it is uncomfortably hot and add cold water or turn off the hot water before they will be burned. 100% hot water should not be so hot that it will cause a burn.

When your hot water causes a burn, you should consult with a personal injury burn lawyer in New York and call Personal Injury Dream Team for a free consultation.

The Difference Between the Different Degrees of Burns

This chart shows an image of your skin and the difference between a first-degree burn, second-degree burn, and third-degree burn. Second-degree burns and third-degree burns are serious burn injuries and can cause serious scars. Third-degree burns are full-thickness burns that go through the dermis. Third-degree burns usually require skin grafting. A fourth-degree burn involves injury to deep tissues, such as muscle, tendons, or bone.

graphic image showing the severity of first, second and third degree burns

If you have one or more scars from a burn caused by hot water and can’t afford plastic surgery, we may be able to get you the money to pay for plastic surgery. Additionally, you would be entitled to be compensated for the cost of your plastic surgery by the person or companies responsible for causing your injury.

What Causes Hot Water Scalding Burns?

Most scalding burns are caused in an apartment by hot water in a bathtub, shower, or bathroom sink.

Why are most serious hot water burns caused in apartments? Because in apartment buildings, residents do not have any control over the boiler or hot water system. Only the landlord can install or maintain systems and valves to prevent serious hot water burns.

Scalding Burns Caused By Defective Radiators

Sometimes, severe scalding burns are caused by defective radiators. Two girls were scalded to death by a steam radiator in the Bronx in December 2016. The valve on the radiator had come off which caused steam to escape and burn the girls to death. The valve was likely defective although Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was a freak accident and New York City investigators did not determine how the valve came off the radiator. If we were the attorneys for the family, we would have hired an expert engineer to determine the exact cause and prove that New York City, which was the landlord, was 100% at fault.

Scalding Burn Caused By Hot Water Pipes

A two-year-old boy was severely burned by hot water pipes in his apartment in an NYCHA building. Although the pipe was supposed to be insulated because there were minors in the apartment, the hot water pipe was not insulated and was measured to be at 175°.

Scalding Burn Caused By Hot Water, Coffee, or Drink

Burns from scalding water may be caused when hot water is spilled by a waiter or waitress at a restaurant or when scalding hot water or coffee is served at a restaurant. In Queens, a waitress at Applebee’s brought scalding hot water to a table where a 17-month-old baby thought it was drinking water and was seriously burned with second-degree burns. See our website HURT911.org for an explanation about the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit.

In the Bronx, an 11-year-old girl was allegedly splashed with boiling water by a 12-year-old girl when she was the victim of a stupid prank at a sleepover party. The girl suffered second-degree and third-degree burns across her shoulders and face. The parents of the 12-year-old girl are responsible for the injuries due to improper supervision of the children at the party.

Of course, serious burns can be caused by things other than hot water such as burns from fire and electrical burns.

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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

1-800-HURT-911® Founding Partner Attorney Rob Plevy, Esq.

Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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