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A jury awarded $10.7 million last night to the estate of an 18-month-old who was scalded to death by a water heater manufactured by American Water Heater Company.

On February 24, 2010, the toddler, Mikayla King, was scalded by dangerously hot water that flowed into the bathtub where she was being bathed, causing second degree burns covering more than 50 percent of her body. Experts in the case said that she was scalded by water in excess of 138 degrees Fahrenheit in only three to five seconds. She suffered severe complications from her burns and passed away six weeks later.

Represented by Jay Paul Deratany, Gregory Olmstead, and Megan O’Connor of Deratany & Kosner, Chicago’s leading personal injury law firm, Mikayla’s family was able to obtain justice for her untimely and preventable death.

“A family’s home is their sanctuary and it is appalling that such a hidden danger can exist in the home,” Deratany said. “The water heater involved in this case was unsafe at any setting. It is our hope that this lawsuit will inspire change in the entire water heater industry, as this was not just an isolated event.”

The plaintiffs argued that the water flowing from the water heater in the King home was unreasonably dangerous because it could produce water at a temperature that could cause scalding and death within a matter of seconds. They said that the thermostat did not accurately control the output temperature of the water. They further argued that there was a simple valve available that could prevent tap water from reaching dangerous temperatures.

“Over 1,500 children are scalded per year by this hidden danger in people’s homes,” Deratany said. “It was our privilege to represent the King family, obtain justice for Mikayla King, and shed light on an important issue to invoke change.”

After seven hours of deliberation, the jury found that the water heater manufactured by American Water Heater Company was unreasonably dangerous. After hearing evidence that included a 911 call placed by Mikayla King’s mother and testimony from her family, the jury awarded damages for the pain and suffering that Mikayla experienced and for the grief and sorrow that her family continues to endure.

The case lasted ten days in front of the Honorable James Snyder.

About Deratany & Kosner
Deratany & Kosner is located at 221 N. LaSalle St. Their experienced legal team brings more than 100 years of collective experience to the table on behalf of those who were injured or died, resulting in more than $500 million in jury verdicts and settlements. The firm has been voted among the top Illinois law firms for 13 years. Founding attorney Jay Paul Deratany has been voted among the top lawyers nationwide since 2007, and was a recent recipient of The Litigator Awards, which recognizes achievements by the top 1% of trial lawyers.

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