P.I. Pulse: Product Liability (E-Cigarette Explosion)

Oct. 9th, 2013   /   , ,

 

Everybody knows (or should know) that young children should be kept away from cigarettes. In reality, everyone should stay away from cigarettes as much as possible, but young children are especially susceptible to the harms of cigarettes, both because of their underdeveloped immune systems and the fact that they’re more prone to subconscious influence than are adults. Most concerns about cigarettes have to do with the tar, tobacco, nicotine, smoke, etc., that emanates from a burning cigarette. So-called “e-cigarettes,” electronic cigarettes, have taken the market by storm recently as a “safe” alternative to the real, cancerous cigarettes.

As it turns out, don’t assume that because something isn’t cancerous it isn’t dangerous. In fact, in this blog, we’re going to tell you a story about an electronic cigarette that spewed far more smoke than regular cigarettes.

Very recently, a mother in Utah was driving down the road with her son when, suddenly, she began to smell an offensive odor in her car. She then noticed that the cabin of her minivan began to fill with smoke after a short flash. What had happened? Her e-cigarette, while charging, had exploded. A copper coil, due to the explosion, shot off, bounced off the ceiling of the car, and landed in the car seat of the woman’s child, in which the child was sitting. The flames emanating from the white-hot coil reached the child’s torso, essentially leading to his catching on fire. The woman tried desperately to put out the fire with the sleeves of her shirt as the child screamed, but unfortunately her sleeves also caught fire.

Eventually, the woman was able to put out the fire by pouring iced coffee on her child. The fire might be gone, but the damage is not. The child sustained severe burns due to the cigarette explosion and the ensuing fire.  The sustained injuries are horrible, and things could have been worse still – any explosion in a moving vehicle is a threat not only to those inside the car, but also to everyone else on the road with the car.

The fire chief in the town in which the incident occurred believes that, indeed, the e-cigarette did explode, and it wasn’t the first time it had happened in that town. This may very well be an incident that can be the basis for a product liability suit against the manufacturer of the e-cigarette. (Generally, product liability can come in three forms – defective design, defective manufacturing, and/or defective marketing.) Since the incident happened so recently, it is unclear at this point, which of the aforementioned aspects of product liability, if any, the victims of this incident will pursue.

The role of businesses is, unsurprisingly, to make money. However, their responsibility does not end when the transaction is complete. The law makes sure that companies stand by their products and, when their products cause great harm to those who purchase them, it is often the companies that are held liable.

If you have been injured by a defective product, please reach out to us at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg by calling 561-266-9191 or email us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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