Hot Water Scald - Biomechanics Investigation Expert Article

In this case, a security guard was badly scalded by hot water from an outdoor hose bibb. Robson Forensic was retained to explain the biomechanics of scalds and opine on the plaintiff's ability to detect the temperature and avoid injury.

Hot Water Scald Biomechanical Engineering Expert

Scald From Outdoor Hose Bibb

Biomechanics of Scalds

A security guard was badly scalded by hot water from an outdoor hose bibb. She had been patrolling a public housing complex when she saw water running and tried to shut off the valve. As soon as the hot water contacted her skin, she was scalded. Our experts measured the water temperature at over 185 degrees F.

Tracing the water supply lines back through the system showed how in the course of repairs, maintenance workers had piped the bibb from a tap into the nearby hot water piping instead of the cold. The piping was clearly improper and our experts spcializing in plumbing systems described the codes and standards that had been violated.

The significant technical issues in the case, however, were primarily related to how scalds occur since the primary defense argument was that the guard should have known the water was hot and had been unreasonable in leaving her hand in the water long enough to be injured. We explained the biomechanics of scalds and how much high water temperature impairs the ability of users to avoid injury.

Had the water been in the range of normal domestic hot water temperatures, the security guard would have been able to avoid injury. However, here the water was only 30 degrees below boiling temperature, hot enough to scald her immediately on contact.

Timing for Scald Expert Witness

For more information on the plumbing/mechanical systems that contribute to scalding injuries, see our article Hot Water Scalds.

Biomechanical Analyses of Injury Causation

The biomechanical experts at Robson Forensic offer a scientific approach to injury causation analysis. Forensic biomechanical investigations can be applied to various scenarios where the cause of an injury is in dispute, such as motor vehicle crashes, sports and workplace events, and falls.

By combining principles of mechanical physics with an understanding of injury biomechanics, our experts can determine whether an injury is consistent with the physical evidence and descriptions of an event. Our experts can also help elucidate whether an injury resulted from a defective product or device, and whether it could have been prevented.

For more information submit an inquiry

Featured Expert

Jamie R. Williams, Biomedical Engineer & Biomechanics Expert

Jamie R. Williams, Ph.D.

Biomedical Engineer & Biomechanics Expert
Jamie Williams, Ph.D., is one of the foremost authorities in her field. Her expertise is focused on traumatic brain injury and musculoskeletal biomechanics in scenarios including falls, vehicle… read more.


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