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Hot Liquid Burns



Areas of Expertise

Michael Fox, PhD.



Hot Liquid Burns

Prior to the famous McDonald’s hot coffee case, Dr. Fox consulted on a hot coffee burn case in New Mexico – also at a fast food restaurant. The situation involved an 80-year old woman who was burned by hot coffee at a fast food restaurant and who then developed stress induced diabetes and soon after died. Dr. Fox performed considerable literature research on hot liquid burns, which brought out the well-known relationship between the area of skin burned, age and the probability of death. It turns out that an 80-year old man or woman has a fairly high probability of death, even when only small areas of the skin are severely burned. Death is most often caused by secondary effects, such as stress-induced health problems. He also determined that hot coffee (or any hot liquid) fits the legal description of a hazardous chemical under OSHA regulations.Dr. Fox has since consulted in a number of cases involving hot liquid burns, including hot tea burning a child in a Japanese restaurant, hot soup, hot chocolate, hot shower water and several additional hot coffee cases.

While Dr. Fox no longer offers expert witness services in hot liquid burn litigation (expectations are too high) he has developed a considerable amount of information and data that is extremely useful in other instances. For example, determining how long a person can hold onto a hot aerosol can at a certain temperature. However, Dr. Fox is available on a pure consulting basis concerning hot liquid burns.