When a product or service is used as advertised, the last thing a person expects is a devastating injury. Unfortunately, this does happen, and it’s why product liability laws exist. Product and parts manufacturers and the people who sell a good or service must meet high standards, keeping them accountable to suitably warn customers of potential dangers, advise them on how to safely use a product, and provide the safest services possible. When these standards are breached, any of these parties may be sued through a personal injury claim.
In California, three recent e-cigarette explosions severely injured vapers. One of the more recent cases, affecting plaintiff Vincente Garza, caused extensive bodily damage, including significant burns. Surgeons amputated Garza’s left index finger and performed multiple surgeries. Another victim, Daniel Califf, had a hole blown through his cheek while using an electronic cigarette. His room also caught fire when the device exploded.
Following these events, personal injury suits were filed against the e-cigarette designer and the product manufacturer. The stores where Garza bought the battery, device, and charger are also being prosecuted. There is plenty of precedence regarding lawsuits like these. For example, in September of 2015, a jury awarded $1.9 million for damages when an e-cigarette exploded in a woman’s car. Incidents like these have necessitated skin grafts, extensive property damage, and other life-long consequences.
Consumers expect devices to work properly, and they must be adequately manufactured, designed, and tested. The industry is closely regulated to ensure a product is safe before it enters the marketplace. In the case of exploding e-cigarettes, plaintiffs are claiming that the electronic devices and their components (including batteries and chargers) are unsafe. These products also purportedly lack an inadequate warning explaining the dangers of lithium batteries and the importance of proper voltage when charging.
Lithium batteries use flammable liquid electrolytes, which can explode if overheated. This particular product liability largely hinges on the absence of a warning explaining the issue. Furthermore, retailers are responsible for recommending and selling chargers designed for the product a customer uses.
There are clear problems with safety regulations in this budding industry. There are fewer safeguards to protect consumers, and as this technology develops, its dangers must be continually investigated. As claims are filed against negligent parties, manufacturers must diligently work to provide the safest products possible.
Though e-cigs are a newer innovation, there are hundreds of laws in place to protect consumers from these types of accidents. When products like these cause unpredicted damage, you may pursue a claim to cover costs associated with property damage, medical bills, or a wrongful death. Like any customers, vapers are responsible for using their devices safely. There are, however, some serious risks related to these products and their batteries and chargers. When these items don’t perform as advised, anyone along the production line, as well as the retailers selling them, may be held liable.
If you have been injured by an electronic cigarette, seek medical help as soon as possible. You will need to carefully document the incident, including how you used the product when it malfunctioned, the extent of damage caused, and the medical treatment you will need to fully recover. Obviously, this a lot to account for, which is why working with an experienced personal injury attorney is so important.
Product liability cases are complex, as there are potentially dozens of parties to investigate, but that’s no reason to suffer without due compensation. Reach out to the legal team at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. for more information. We will explore every possible avenue for compensation and hold all parties who may have contributed to the accident accountable.