$250,000 Burns From Uninsulated Steam Pipe
Sullivan Brill recently obtained a $250,000 settlement out of a $300,000 insurance policy after just eight months of litigation for a Bronx woman that sustained third degree burns on her check, neck and scalp after she fainted in the bathroom and leaned up against an uninsulated hot steam pipe. The case presented a very challenging legal landscape because there are many cases in New York that have been dismissed on very similar facts. The courts have dismissed the cases on a variety of grounds, including that the landlord had no duty to insulate the pipe because of the age of the building, that the landlord was not aware of the uninsulated pipe, that the pipe needed to be uninsulated to provide heat to the bathroom, that the temperature did not exceed the temperature allowed by the building code or that it was unforeseeable that a person would come into contact with the pipe for a long enough period of time to get significant burns. It seems as though no matter what the fact pattern, the courts have found a reason to dismiss the case.
At the onset of the litigation, the firm hired a highly respected expert in mechanical engineering with extensive experience with the New York City building code to test the heating system of apartment and document the dangerous condition of the pipe. We were then able to convince the insurance company that this case fell within a very narrow range of cases that required the landlord to remedy the dangerous condition in our client's apartment, and that therefore, it should compensate her for the injuries she sustained.
Practice area(s): Personal Injury