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Ingestion of caustic chemicals causes severe burns

Chemical burns can happen in several different types of situations. One that is more common than many West Virginia residents might believe is the accidental ingestion of caustic chemicals by restaurant patrons. Indeed, estimates put the number of people injured by eating or drinking chemicals between 5,000 and 15,000 per year nationwide.

At a restaurant in an Atlantic City casino, a man suffered severe burns to his stomach and esophagus when he drank beer that was tainted with a chemical cleaning agent. According to court records, the draft beer lines in the restaurant had been cleaned with the chemical but not properly cleared. The man ordered a draft beer and drank some of the chemical. A jury awarded him $750,000. The restaurant could have avoided the situation by checking the beer lines with some inexpensive test strips after cleaning.

In March 2017, two children were severely burned in their mouths and throats at a buffet-style restaurant when they drank apple juice that contained lye. During an inspection following the incident, officials found a container of lye near the food preparation area. In 2014, a woman ingested a chemical called Clean Force Fryer Cleaner when it was inadvertently added to her iced tea at a barbecue restaurant. The chemical, which looks like sugar, was improperly stored and an employee of the restaurant added it to the drink. The woman suffered severe chemical burns to her stomach, mouth and throat.

Chemical ingestion can cause long-lasting injuries and increase the risk of esophageal cancer. The cost to prevent them is tiny by comparison. An individual who is burned or otherwise injured due to negligence on the part of property owners or employees may be entitled to recover compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. An attorney with experience in personal injury law may be able to help by identifying defendants and initiating negotiations.

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