September 24, 2018 Category: Product Liability
An Anaheim man recently suffered burn injuries to his leg when an E-cigarette in his pants pocket exploded. Video footage shows the man browsing for a new television in an Anaheim store when the fiery explosion occurred. While the victim was able to walk out of the store on his own, he may require extensive medical care to treat the burns. He may be able to recover compensation from the company that designed or sold the vape pen if the product was defective.
E-Cigarette Accidents and Injuries
E-cigarettes, or vape pens, have become incredibly popular in recent years. Some use vape pens because they believe the devices pose less of a threat to their health than traditional cigarettes. Others enjoy the variety of flavors that vape pens can provide. Since hitting the market, the safety of vape pens and e-cigarette devices themselves have been questioned.
Between 2009 and 2016 there were nearly 200 reported e-cigarette explosions and fires in the United States. These incidents resulted in at least 133 minor to moderate injuries. Other reported e-cigarette accidents have resulted in serious injury and even death. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the most devastating accidents tend to involve vape pen devices when they are stored with or near extra batteries.
Liability for E-Cigarette Explosion Injuries
The Anaheim man purchased the vape pen with the expectation that it would be safe for him to use and own. While he likely understood the health risks inherent in using the e-cigarette device to inhale smoke and chemicals, he would not expect the device to explode in his pocket. If the man can prove that the vape pen is defective, or if the company failed to warn him about a known risk, he may be able to recover compensation.
In California, companies that design, manufacture, and/or sell products have a responsibility to consumers. The products they put on the market must be safe. Since there are risks inherent in any product, benefits must generally outweigh those risks. Any risks must also be disclosed to consumers. When a company puts a defective or dangerous product on the market, they can be held strictly liable for injuries that occur.
Product Liability Lawsuits in California
How would the Anaheim man approach a product liability lawsuit? What would he have to prove if he decided to pursue compensation from the company responsible for the dangerous vape pen? The answer will really depend on which type of defect caused his burn injury.
Design Defect: Benefits of a product must outweigh risks. Consumers have a right to purchase products that are safe without worrying about inherent dangers. Dangers can exist when products contain a design defect. A design defect occurs when dangers exist because of how the product itself was designed.
For example, a vape pen may be defective if the design calls for the use of a certain kind of material. If that material is highly-flammable, especially when in proximity to batteries, the defect may be inherent in the design.
Manufacturing Defect: A product’s design is carefully crafted to ensure that the product is safe. It’s important for companies to make sure that products are manufactured according to their design. Any deviations from the product’s design during the manufacturing process can cause a defect. A manufacturing defect can affect an entire batch of a product or just one item on the production line.
For example, a vape pen may be defective if it is manufactured without an essential component that is called for in the design. During manufacturing, the company fails to install a specific fire-retardant material that is intended to safeguard consumers in the event of a malfunction. Since the product wasn’t manufactured according to its design, a manufacturing defect exists.
Failure to Warn: Companies must disclose any known risks or dangers associated with a product. A failure to warn of dangers that a company knew or should have known about can result in liability.
For example, a vape pen manufacturer may be liable for damages if they knew that the product was likely to explode when stored in close proximity to spare batteries. If the company failed to warn consumers about this possibility, they may be responsible for harm.
Have you been injured in an Anaheim accident? It’s important to understand your legal rights and options. Contact our Anaheim personal injury lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.