STUDENTS SUFFER SEVERE BURN INJURIES AT UNH DORM

Most burn injury victims suffer these injuries due to a fire of some kind. However, as our burn injuries page makes clear, many times burn injuries occur due to scalding, and these types of burns are usually severe.

This was the case yesterday (April 6 2013,) when three students at the University of New Hampshire were badly burned Saturday afternoon due to a hot water pipe that burst in a dormitory, according to a university spokeswoman. Injuries from pipes that burst coming from a hot water heater, can be especially devastating: The normal water temperature inside a water heater is commonly set at around 160 degrees, and when water this hot hits the skin, it will without doubt cause third-degree burns. According to news reports, that’s exactly what these three female students suffered, as they were in or leaving Hunter Hall, a three-story dorm that houses nearly 115 students. Their burn injuries were so bad that while the burn victims were first taken to local hospitals, they were later transferred to Boston hospitals, due to the severity of their burn injuries.

Following such an accident, most families ask: Is anyone liable for the injuries that the burn injury victim suffered? If so, why, and what type of compensation is possible? As a Boston, Massachusetts burn injury lawyer, I can tell you that the answers to those questions depend on the facts and the circumstances surrounding the event, centrally whether and how much evidence of negligence is present. In this case, possible defendants could include:

• The University of New Hampshire, which presumably owns the buildings and is responsible for maintenance.
• The manufacturer(s) of the water heating system, including piping, that malfunctioned.
• The manufacturer(s) of any electrical thermostat and/or electronic water temperature control system(s) that were designed to regulate the water heater.
• The manufacturer(s) of any pipes, pipe fittings, and plumbing connected with eh water heating system.
• Any outside plumbing contractors that the University may have engaged to either install or service the water heater and/or associated plumbing systems.

Each of these potential defendants would almost certainly carry a policy of liability insurance that provides for payment of negligence claims. First, however, negligence must be established. Whether liability would attach to any particular named defendant, would depend on the facts discovered in the accident. However, the types of damages that can be compensated following such an injury include payment for the following:

• Lost wages and income due to inability to work following the injury • Medical and hospital expenses, including physical therapy and rehabilitation • Lost future earning potential, if any • Damages due to scarring and disfigurement • Pain and suffering • For married persons, a spouse can add a claim for something known as loss of consortium, which provides compensation for the loss of enjoyment in life that a married couple suffers when one incurs a serious injury.

Burn injuries due to scalding from hot water are usually pretty severe, because in most cases the hot water is spilled from a stove top, or out of a burst hot water pipe or burst hot water heater. They can result in lifelong scarring, and these legal claims require he expertise of an experienced Boston burn injury law firm. Victims of this type of injury in Massachusetts would be well advised to seek out a Boston burn injury law that specializes in these types of lawsuits, as they can become very complicated.

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