Across the U.S., more than 120 people filed lawsuits against electronic cigarette companies in 2017. These plaintiffs, several of whom are California residents, claim they were injured in fires or explosions sparked by e-cigarette batteries. Many of these companies are now scrambling to defend themselves, arguing that these injuries are due largely to user error rather than faulty hardware.
Exploding Vape Pens Cause Severe Injuries
Of the 120 plaintiffs, many allege that they suffered third-degree burns or teeth that were knocked out due to an e-cigarette exploding in their mouth. Others claim that vaporizer batteries in their pockets burst into flames, scorching their upper legs. Two plaintiffs from Southern California are suing because they claim they sustained severe injuries, such as burns requiring a skin graft and the loss of an eye.
Are Faulty Batteries to Blame?
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, e-cigarette fire incidents have grown significantly since 2012. Most distributors of e-cigarettes import their products from China to keep costs down. Since these products are coming from overseas, there is very little quality control.
According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Thomas Gangi, a New York resident who died when a vaporizer device exploded and drove shrapnel into his head, “E-cigarettes will continue to cause these types of injuries unless and until those placing them in the stream of commerce are held accountable. Even industry proponents…acknowledge that no universal method of testing e-cigarettes has been adopted.”
E-Cigarette Companies Blame Users for Fire Incidents
Companies are pushing back, suggesting that most of the injuries are due to user error. They claim those pocket combustions are typically caused by a user allowing the vaporizer to touch other metal, such as loose change, which can lead to overheating. While they admit that lithium batteries have had their issues, many companies point out that these types of fire incidents reach far beyond the vaping industry.
The U.S. Fire Administration has urged e-cigarette manufacturers to seek an alternative to lithium batteries, but as such a viable alternative may still be a long way off. Still, many industry experts are hopeful that an increase in user education and an improvement in safer battery technology will ultimately decrease the number of injuries caused by e-cigarettes.
Injured in an E-Cigarette Accident? We Can Help.
Personal injuries caused by faulty products can be very serious indeed. If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury and need assistance in collecting compensation, contact Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation in Murrieta today at (951) 489-3320. We offer free consultations and will work hard to maximize your overall compensation award.