Gone are the days of smoke-filled restaurants and most smoke-filled public places. In part because of the well-known surgeon general warning labels on cigarette packages, TV commercials warning about emphysema and lung cancer, and large judgments against the tobacco industry, an increasing number of cigarette smokers have turned to electronic cigarettes (“e-cigarettes”) as an alternative to smoking tobacco. Many consumers likely expected the e-cigarette to be a harmless, or at least safer, option. Surprisingly however, some e-cigarettes have proven to be extremely dangerous and have caused severe and permanent injuries. This has caused an increase in product liability litigation across the country.
A recent Associated Press article reported that there has been a steep increase in e-cigarette explosions in the last few years. The article reports that the explosions have likely been caused by the batteries which were manufactured in China. One of the injured victims sustained severe third-degree burns to her leg. Another victim was a boy who suffered from partial loss of sight. The article also discusses a victim who sustained permanent burns after an e-cigarette explosion in 2015 won a verdict of $2 million from a California court.
Another recent article reported that a group of four injured victims have filed suit in New Jersey against the sellers of e-cigarettes that exploded “like a rocket.” One person who was injured by an e-cigarette explosion suffered third degree burns, has been unable to work for several months, and needs surgery to implement skin grafts. These instances and others have caused major liability problems for the companies producing and selling the e-cigarettes. While the lawsuit names the manufacturers as defendants, the plaintiffs realize the difficulty of a successful claim against the manufacturers as they are located in China.
Product liability cases are often complex and can fall under several types of categories, such as (1) defective design where all the products in question have been designed improperly and are therefore unreasonably dangerous, (2) defective manufacturing where some of the products are dangerous due to a manufacturing mistake as to a particular product created, and (3) defective warning where the consumers are not made fully aware of the potential dangers of the product, especially when the dangers are not readily apparent. In the instances referenced in the news articles discussed above, it is possible that all three categories could be at issue.
Evidence showing a design flaw with the batteries in the e-cigarettes is one avenue to establishing liability. Similarly, a victim could prove liability by showing the e-cigarette was unreasonably dangerous due to a manufacturing defect, even if the actual design of the product was not faulty. Additionally, an attorney could contend that the warning for the e-cigarette’s potential dangers was not adequate. Product liability attorneys also must determine who can be held liable for a client’s injuries – such as the designer, manufacturer, and/or retailer.
If you or someone you know has been injured by an e-cigarette explosion or other defective product, it is important to consult a skilled, experienced attorney who can navigate the complexities of product liability litigation. Serious burn injuries may be permanent and require extensive medical care. The attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz have the resources and expertise to litigate against the companies responsible for providing dangerous products to consumers. Contact Team NST today at 1-800-LAW-4004 for a free, confidential case evaluation.