Industry-Leading Plumbing Experts Discuss Burns from Overheated Shower Water

    Plumbing Expert WitnessThis case involves a young boy who was burned in the shower by scalding hot water which poured out of a shower head. The boy and his family were tenants in a large apartment building in Chicago, having moved in just 5 days before the incident in question. Prior to this incident, the boy and his family had used the shower without incident on multiple occasions. Eventually, a fault occurred in the building’s water heating system, which caused the temperature of hot water for the building to skyrocket to dangerous levels. When the Plaintiff went to use the shower, he turned on the water while standing under the shower head. The hot water poured out, causing serious scalds across his entire body.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Have you ever inspected a plumbing system that was known to have caused serious burns to residents?
    • 2. What protocol will you take to inspect the boiler and plumbing system to ensure that it's safe for use by residents and tenants of a rental property?

    Expert Witness Response E-000033

    In a case like this, I typically begin by performing visual observations at the boiler room, including at the boiler, domestic hot water coil, associated gauges and valves, domestic water heater, etc.where applicable (depending upon what equipment is providing the hot water). An inspection is also typically performed at the tap where the scalding incident occurred within the apartment. I typical measure the hot water temperature being delivered to the tap at the time of the inspection over a limited period of time. While the temperatures recorded may not necessarily be reflective of the conditions at the time of the accident (i.e. – if system adjustments have already been made since the occurrence of the incident), such measurements can be reflective of general system conditions.

    Contact this expert witness