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When beverages burn

As temperatures grow more frigid, customers will swap out their regular iced tea drink orders for warmer options, like coffee or hot chocolate. Eager for that first sip, many of us have accidentally burnt our tongue on a hot drink around this time of year.

However, the small annoyance of these minor burns doesn’t compare to the severe pain that a scalding drink could cause. Unfortunately, more than 500,000 people suffer scald burns each year in the United States.

When is a drink too hot?

Liquids served at a temperature of 160° F are capable of causing serious injury upon contact with skin. For children, exposure to a liquid with a temperature of 140° F for up to three seconds is likely to result in a third-degree burn that requires hospitalization.

Those over the age of 65 are also more likely to sustain injuries from scald burns. An elderly woman fast-food restaurant, McDonald's, for over 2 million dollars after she suffered third-degree burns from a scalding coffee. At the time, the restaurant chain had served the beverage between 180° F and 190° F.

More common than you’d think

These accidents can happen easily if a customer is served a hot beverage or a hot beverage is accidentally spilled onto a customer.

According to the American Burn Association, 34 percent of those admitted to burn centers suffer scald burns.

How you can take action

Many of those who suffer these types of burns accept the incident as an accident. Even if what happened was an honest mistake, there are laws are in place to prevent and protect customers from serious injuries. If you or someone you know is a burn victim, take advantage of the legal resources that are available by discussing your circumstance with a professional.

A personal injury attorney can help determine your options for seeking damages to cover medical expenses, lost wages and other related costs. Plus, you may help save an unsuspecting victim in the future. If not for the McDonald’s suit, customers may still be getting scalding coffees to go.

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