Posted on Monday, December 30th, 2019 at 11:26 pm
Texas has what could be called an ‘average’ set of distracted driving laws. There seems to be no doubt that distracted driving related accidents and injuries have increased dramatically since mobile devices became so widespread. Texas now has rules about using mobile devices when driving, but there is a lack of agreement about whether they are good enough to actually lower the serious injury and fatality rate on our highways.
There was a decrease of 12% in fatalities across the state involving distracted driving crashes between 2017 and 2018, but whether this can be attributed to stricter laws is open to debate. There are many reasons why drivers become distracted, many of which are the same as they ever were – talking to passengers, staring at something interesting out the window, eating and drinking and adjusting the radio, music center or GPS. Add to that talking on a cell phone and texting, then there are certainly plenty of reasons why accidents are caused by momentary distraction. When traveling at speed, it only takes a second’s distraction for a crash to occur.
One of the reasons why some legislators think the current ban on texting while driving and the use of handheld devices for voice calls doesn’t go far enough is that it is hard for police to obtain proof that the moment’s illegal move caused an accident. Unless another driver or passenger actually saw someone texting or the action was captured on camera, it would be extremely hard to say that that was the reason for the crash. Unfortunately, most drivers know that and it seems that many are prepared to continue the practice even if they know that it is illegal and that it could cause them to hit another vehicle or swerve into a median strip or off the road entirely.
The limitations of the current texting law are as follows:
- The ban on texting is hard to enforce;
- Hand held cell phone use is only banned for young and first time drivers;
- The fines are minor – even if there is proof that a law has been violated.
The laws are stricter for drivers who are in school zones, or school bus drivers who have children on board. In this case, no driver is allowed to use a cell phone at all. Perhaps it is time for the law to change so that no cell phone use at all should be allowed any where while someone is driving and the fines should be far higher.
How can the victim of a distracted driving accident prove that the accident was caused by a texting driver?
Unless the driver who was hit has a dash cam in operation, or several people can testify that they actually saw a driver use a cell phone just before a crash, it is really quite hard to come up with proof that the driver was distracted when he caused an accident. It’s unlikely that the at-fault driver will admit using a phone or was texting just at that point in time. Of course, there may be other evidence that shows that the driver was negligent. If the driver traveling in the opposite direction ends up over a center line or was filmed by a surveillance camera running a red light or failing to stop at an intersection, then this could help. Can a driver’s phone records be legitimately be checked to see whether he or she was using them just as the crash was happening?
It is possible that your car accident attorney can issue a sub-poena for cell phone call records if there is sufficient justification for it. The records, once they have been made available, should show the exact time and length of a phone call or text message. As long as the exact time of the crash can be verified then this sort of information could be invaluable evidence that the other driver was to blame for the accident.
Contact The Injury Lawyer San Antonio if hit by a texting driver
If you, or a loved one, have been injured by a texting driver, whatever the circumstances, you should contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio. It can be difficult suing a negligent driver without professional legal help. You can contact Injury lawyer San Antonio at 833-210-4878.
Posted on Monday, December 16th, 2019 at 12:58 pm
Posted on Friday, November 29th, 2019 at 12:21 am
In most cases, an injured victim of a car accident would seek an opportunity to sue anyone whose negligence caused the accident. Most car accidents are the result of the negligence of one of the drivers involved and if this can be proved, then this driver will be the one that is sued. A number of states, Texas included, have additional laws that make other parties liable for compensation if they have knowingly provided alcohol to an obviously already intoxicated person.
In certain circumstances, then, if you have been injured by an intoxicated driver and you can prove that the accident was caused by their negligent driving, you may be able to recover damages from a bar, restaurant or even a social host, if liability for their poor judgment can be established. In most cases, this may prove difficult attempting to do this all by yourself and you would have a much better chance of securing compensation through a personal injury claim if you engage an experienced car injury attorney..
Texas liquor liability laws
There are two separate but related laws that affect who are considered liable if an intoxicated driver causes an accident and there is an injury as a result of the accident.
These laws are the
- Dram shop law; and the
- Social host law.
Note that these laws have effect in both criminal and civil law. In other words, if someone is found to be guilty of supplying alcohol to an already intoxicated person and this person goes on to drive and cause an injury, then that person (or their employer) may be charged with a criminal offense as well as be liable for damages if sued by the injured accident victim.
The dram shop law applies to commercial establishments like bars, restaurants and hotels where alcoholic drinks are for sale. If alcohol is sold to someone who is obviously drunk and that person goes on to cause an injury, then the person or business who sold the alcohol may be charged with a misdemeanor offense as well as be liable for any civil claim against them.
The social host law applies to anyone who offers or provides alcoholic drinks to an intoxicated minor who goes on to drive and injure someone in an accident. Note that the exception here is that this law does not apply to either parent of the minor, only to another person. Like the dram shop law, this person may be charged with a misdemeanor offense with similar penalties as the dram shop law, as well as render the ‘host’ liable to civil lawsuits if the injured accident victim chooses to pursue legal action.
Texas Proportionate Responsibility Act
One complication of the dram shop law is that if a commercial bar or restaurant worker is sued for a personal injury claim, then the defendant may elect to assign part of the responsibility to the drunk driver. That would mean that the liability would then be shared between the driver and the person who served alcohol to the driver. This would be similar to a situation in which someone was injured through the proven negligence of two or more other parties. For example, say you were hit by a truck driver who was speeding at the time of the collision. Subsequent investigation showed that the driver was employed without any background checks and had had previous experience of negligent driving. Both the truck company and the driver may both be jointly liable. In these cases of shared liability, you would need an attorney to prepare a convincing case to determine how much can be demanded from each at-fault party.
Contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio for effective representation
If you, or a loved one, have been injured by a drunk driver, whatever the circumstances, you should contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio. Because of the complications of Texas alcohol liability laws and the proportionate responsibility act, it can be difficult suing a negligent driver without professional legal help. You can contact Injury lawyer San Antonio at 833-210-4878.
Posted on Friday, October 25th, 2019 at 8:35 pm
Have you ever been a Good Samaritan? According to Texas law, a Good Samaritan is someone who stops by after seeing an accident or people who have been injured and tries to help in good faith. It might involve direct physical help, verbal comforting or simply directing traffic and calling emergency services.
Although the concept of a Good Samaritan seems nothing more than being a good citizen, many people are concerned about the possible implications if something goes wrong if they stop to help. What happens if you stop to give any kind of help and the person who is injured or unwell becomes worse, or even dies? Could you be blamed for what has happened, even if it had nothing to do with what you actually did at the scene?
The Good Samaritan law in Texas, like many other states, is designed to remove liability from anyone who does offer their help at the scene of an injury. It doesn’t matter what type of accident it is, although the most likely is a traffic accident. It also doesn’t matter what your skills are, or whether you have any medical knowledge at all. That means that whether you are a truck driver, an accountant or a nurse, you cannot normally be held liable if someone you are helping seems to become worse while you are at the scene.
Note that Texas law does not make it compulsory for anyone to stop and help, even if they are a medical professional. The decision is entirely left to the person’s conscience and personal ethical judgment. In fact, this is typical of most other states where Good Samaritan laws are in existence. There are a few states which have taken legislation a step further and make it necessary for health professionals to stop and render assistance where they can if they have come across an emergency situation.
The Good Samaritan law comes with qualifications
As you might expect, the Texas Good Samaritan law comes with a few qualifications. For a start, it only applies to those who stop and help through a voluntary act. If they expect to ask for payment at the injury scene, they then become liable for any medical malpractice that eventuates. That means that if a doctor turns up at a crash site and suggests to an injured person that he / she will help the victim for some kind of remuneration and the person agrees any kind of deterioration that results from the doctor’s actions could be blamed on that doctor. A medical malpractice lawsuit could then result.
Liability may also lie with the helper if that person acts with deliberate or wanton disregard for safety and that act of negligence directly results in a worsening condition of the person who is being helped.
To take an example, if someone comes to an emergency situation and attempts to move someone who obviously shouldn’t be moved before properly trained paramedics turn up, then this could be regarded as negligence if the injured person’s condition is directly negatively affected. There is obviously a grey area here where a person’s actions could possibly be regarded by some as ‘negligent’ while others may consider that the helper was only genuinely acting out of good faith.
Liability remains for a driver who has caused an injury to one of his / her passengers
The Good Samaritan law does not apply to someone who has already been implicated in causing another person’s injury. For example, imagine a driver runs down a cyclist. By law, the driver is expected to stop and give assistance, even if that is only calling for emergency services to appear. The fact that they have stopped to give assistance does not absolve them from liability as it is possible that there may be proof that their actions contribute directly to the cyclist’s injuries before the cyclist was given assistance.
If you have been injured in any kind of accident and have been injured further when someone came to help, you will need to discuss the accident thoroughly with an experienced personal injury attorney. Call The Injury Lawyer San Antonio at 833-210-4878. An assessment of the details of your accident will provide a realistic way forward for you to recover the compensation you deserve when you have been injured as a result of someone else’s poor decisions and negligent acts.
Posted on Monday, September 23rd, 2019 at 5:28 am
It has been recognized for some time that distracted drivers are a major cause of traffic accidents. Distracted driving has increased in line with the uptake of mobile devices and the incessant demands of social media and the need to communicate. But the very same devices are carried by pedestrians and cyclists. Distracted walking has become as much a problem as distracted driving, except that when there is a collision between a distracted walker and a motorist, it is most likely the pedestrian who comes off the worse for wear.
Distracted walking accidents are most common when pedestrians cross roads, either when on purpose designed crosswalks or in other places. Accidents also occur when pedestrians are actually on sidewalks or are walking close to a highway, usually in an urban setting.
Who is to blame in a distracted walking accident?
Texas now has rules on using mobile devices when driving. Using a cell phone, either to make a voice call or text is not the only type of distraction, of course. There are other distractions, some of which have been around for a long time, like eating or drinking while driving, fiddling with a radio or CD player, reading a newspaper or book, looking out the window, talking to someone in the same vehicle and so on. Generally, any accident that has been caused by negligent distracted driving comes under the umbrella of careless driving. If a pedestrian is hit by a distracted driver, then the pedestrian will have the right to claim compensation through a personal injury claim.
But what if the pedestrian was distracted at the time the accident happened? There are different scenarios here that should be explored separately.
Firstly, if the pedestrian was crossing at a controlled crosswalk and was hit, then the liability would be heavily weighted towards the driver, even if the pedestrian didn’t notice the driver coming towards him/her.
Compensation in a shared fault accident
If the pedestrian was crossing a road at any other point, and was hit by a driver, the relevance of what the pedestrian was doing at the time would be more important. Texas has a modified comparative negligence rule that prevents a plaintiff from pursuing a personal injury claim against someone who injured them if their own share of fault was determined to be more than 50%. In the event that the plaintiff’s share of the blame was less than 50%, then they may then be entitled to a percentage of the total compensation claimed.
For example, a distracted walker is hit by a car somewhere in San Antonio. The accident does not happen at a crosswalk. The pedestrian files a claim for $10,000 in damages. However, the driver’s insurer makes a convincing case that the pedestrian didn’t take enough care when crossing the road and was partly to blame for the accident. Eye witnesses confirm that the pedestrian was listening to music at the time. The case goes to court and the judge determines that the pedestrian was 30% at fault and the driver was 70% at fault. The amount of compensation is calculated at $7,000 i.e. the plaintiff loses 30% of the amount claimed because of the fault apportioned.
Distracted walkers may even become defendants in a reverse personal injury scenario. For example, a pedestrian suddenly crosses a road while busy attending to his cell phone. A driver attempts to miss the pedestrian but crashes into a barrier instead. Because the driver is injured and her car is damaged, she has the right to sue the pedestrian (who remained uninjured) for economic and uneconomic damages. Whether the pedestrian is actually capable of paying compensation is another matter, as it is not compulsory to have insurance when walking.
Distracted driving and distracted walking accidents can become complicated. If you have been involved in any such accident and were injured, you should contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio for advice on pursuing legal action against whoever was to blame. You can contact a personal injury lawyer at the office of Injury Lawyer San Antonio at 833-210-4878.
Posted on Sunday, August 25th, 2019 at 10:38 pm
The death of a 58 year old woman and injuries to five others in central Kentucky at the beginning of this month (August) highlighted the growing problem of the nation’s aging fossil fuel infrastructure. The Kentucky deaths took place due to an explosion on the Texas Eastern Transmission gas pipeline, owned by Canadian company, Enbridge. 75 people had to evacuate when the explosion took place, with flames reported to reach 300 feet into the air.
If this explosion was just a one-off incident, there wouldn’t be such a worry about what it meant for other similar infrastructure. But, it’s not. The same gas pipeline has witnessed three gas explosions in the last three years with the Kentucky explosion the latest.
Much of the U.S. oil and gas infrastructure is over 50 years old – a ticking time bomb
The Texas Eastern is 8,835 miles long and was built in 1943 at the height of the Second World War to carry liquid petroleum to the eastern states and New York. The conversion to natural gas took place after the war ended. Much of the pipeline is now over 50 years old. The part of the pipeline that exploded just 70 miles from Louisville in Kentucky was over 60 years old. The other explosions on the same pipeline were in Ohio in January this year and Greensburg, Pennsylvania in 2018, when a man was so badly injured he spent months in hospital.
Part of the potential danger is that much of the pipeline and similar oil and gas pipelines that makeup the estimated 2.6 million mile network across the country, now lie close to built up areas and dense residential neighborhoods. The Ohio explosion destroyed two houses and the Kentucky explosion led to the evacuation of 75 people from their homes.
Enbridge is no stranger to pipeline problems. It experienced one accident every 20 days between 2000 and 2018 somewhere on its network of pipelines. Some of these accidents were oil or gas leaks and others were explosions.
Enbridge is also implicated in some of the country’s worst oil pipeline spills. The largest on record happened in 2010 when an Enbridge pipeline burst open in Michigan. The oil in this case was thick, tar sands from Alberta. 1 million gallons of the stuff eventually leaked into the river near Kalamazoo in Michigan. It took over a year and 1 billion dollars to clean up the spill that involved cleaning large amounts of extremely toxic chemicals that are carried together with this particular oil in the pipelines.
In November last year, an Enbridge gas pipeline exploded in Canada, in an area where First Nations people lived, forcing their evacuation.
50,000 gallons of oil were leaked from a ruptured Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin in 2012. 17,000 tons of soil that had been contaminated had to be removed. In the same year, 58,000 gallons of oil from an Enbridge pipeline leaked out in Alberta.
Refineries like Exxon’s Baytown refinery are equally a risk
Aging pipelines are not the only fossil fuel infrastructure risk. Many of the oil refineries that still operate were built years ago. Some are over 100 years old, including Texas’s very own Baytown refinery, expected to reach 100 years old next year. Part of the Baytown refinery burst into flames just 24 hours before the Kentucky pipeline explosion. The Baytown refinery, owned and operated by Exxon, is now 200 times as big in scale as it was 100 years ago when it was built to refine just 2,500 barrels of crude oil a day. The refinery has not only expanded in capacity but now houses chemicals and plastics plants and the petrochemical site where the fire took place.
Contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio if you have been affected in any way by a petrochemical pipeline or refinery accident
Oil and gas companies may be taking shortcuts and ignoring safety issues in the name of making a profit when it comes to maintaining their aging infrastructure. The result can be horrendous fires, oil leaks and human tragedy. If you, or a loved one, have in anyway been injured in an oil infrastructure accident, contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio for professional and dedicated legal help at 833-210-4878.
Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2019 at 10:31 pm
Texas legislators are grappling with changes that can be made to help reduce the shocking child fatality and serious injury rate in the state’s day care facilities.
According to an investigation by the Texas Tribune, there have been 88 fatalities and more than 450 children sexually abused in the state’s child day care facilities in the last 10 years. The deaths reportedly occurred through either physical abuse or neglect within these institutions. The spate of fatalities has led to an increase in the number of wrongful death claims filed by parents.
The Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, and leading legislators have said that they are looking at ways that the law can be changed to make these daycare facilities safer. One problem is that many of the facilities that are offering services to the public are actually illegal and are escaping investigation by state authorities. The fatality and abuse rate in these illegal facilities is reportedly higher than facilities that are licensed.
Investigation into widespread abuse of children dropped after 4 years
In 2013, a 30 person investigative unit was set up to examine the incidence of neglect and abuse in the state’s facilities and determine which ones were trying to operate under the radar. However, the unit was abandoned after four years. By all reports, the number of illegal day care centers had dropped by then to less than half during the existence of the unit.
Creating another new investigative unit is one of several proposals being considered by state legislators.
One other proposal that has been somewhat controversial is to make it compulsory to have surveillance cameras installed in every center. This was something that Rep. Ana Hernandez, with the help of a mother who had lost her 3 month old baby in one of the state’s centers, was addressing in proposed new legislation. Shawna Diaz lost her 3 month old to neglect in a Houston day care center in 2016.
Day care workers are apparently apprehensive about the possibility of installing cameras, saying that it makes their already stressful job more stressful. Some parents have also expressed concern, mainly emphasizing their doubts about the video content of their own children taken by the cameras being available to other parents.
Compulsory liability insurance proposed for all daycare facilities
A professor in early childhood education at Texas A & M University-Commerce, David Brown, has suggested that all childhood centers, regardless of size, should have liability insurance. He says that apart from having insurance available to fund lawsuits by parents against the centers when children are harmed, it would mean a toughening of regulations as insurance companies demand higher standards of care as a price for securing insurance.
Legislators are also calling for a survey of staff child ratios in Texas day care centers, suggesting that this may have had an effect on the quality of care provided. Senator Judith Zefferini is intending introducing a bill in the state Senate to set up such a survey.
Did your child suffer abuse or die in a San Antonio daycare facility? Contact Injury Lawyer San Antonio today
It can be heartbreaking to discover that the very place you trusted your child with has neglected their duty of care and your child has been harmed in some way as a result. If your child has suffered in any way while in the care of a San Antonio day care center, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Injury Lawyer San Antonio for professional and dedicated legal help at 833-210-4878.
Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019 at 8:22 pm
Texas likes to be known for its superlatives: “Everything is bigger in Texas” as the saying goes. Not everything that is bigger in Texas is quite so praiseworthy, though. The Lone Star state leads the country in deaths from crane accidents and there is speculation that the penalties for violations by crane operators and construction companies are just too weak to deter poor maintenance and inadequate supervision.
Most crane injuries and fatalities happen to workers on construction sites, but now and again a member of the public is affected. That’s just what happened last week in Dallas, when strong winds toppled a crane, killing a woman in her own apartment, injuring others and destroying homes. Maybe the fact that this was no-one directly involved with the operation of the crane who was affected it might just lead to tightening up on lax enforcement.
In the Dallas accident, there is no argument that exceptionally strong winds directly caused the collapse of the crane, which fell with such force that it crushed an apartment block in its path. The fatality was a 29 year old woman, Kiersten Smith. However, the blame for the accident and its effects cannot be solely aimed at the weather that day in Dallas. Texas, like many places in the U.S., is used to occasional very strong winds. Cranes are supposed to be designed to withstand such winds. One ex federal crane accident investigator mentioned after the Dallas crane collapse that cranes are built to withstand 140 mph winds. The highest recorded gust at Dallas airport the day the crane collapsed was 70 mph. Even allowing for higher gusts in the vicinity of the crane, this was still only half the designed safety limit.
The ex crane investigator said that there are precautions that can be taken when a crane operator knows that bad weather is imminent. The main precaution is to tie down or weigh down the boom of the crane so that it doesn’t topple backwards, which is what happened in Dallas. The weather forecast issued well before the weekend when the thunderstorm blew through was quite clear about the possibility of strong winds, but reportedly the crane was unattended all weekend.
The crane belonged to Bigge Crane & Rigging Co. Representatives from the company have issued their “thoughts and prayers” to those affected and have agreed to fully cooperate with investigators, but the question is whether anything will actually change.
North Texas, in particular, seems to lead the country in crane accident fatalities, although in the last five years news about serious crane accidents has been reported in many parts of the country, not just in Texas. Not all crane accidents are due to strong winds, either. There are different reasons for these accidents. A crane accident in Seattle in April this year killed two people who were working on it and injured two more. The crane reportedly collapsed as the crane crew was attempting to dismantle it. Another crane accident in New York recently took place in the morning rush hour. The crane actually sliced through an apartment building, like the Dallas crane accident, killing one person.
Lack of enforcement could be reason for crane operator negligence
Because there is no apparent common thread emerging in these crane accidents, some attorneys representing injured accident victims have come to the conclusion that the rapid expansion of the construction industry is leading to a lack of effective enforcement and lax control over crane maintenance. In 2017 alone, there were 77 inspections made by OSHA of crane maintenance on Texas worksites. 71% of 65 violations were reported to be serious, according to federal officials. Many of these violations were deliberate or repeated after previous inspections. Fines for crane fatalities have been pegged at only $10,000 per fatality where investigations found that the crane operator was at fault.
If you, or a loved one, is injured as a result of a crane accident in Texas, you will need a resourceful and determined accident attorney to help you pursue rightful compensation. Contact the Injury Lawyer San Antonio at 833-210-4878.
Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019 at 3:31 pm
A car accident is a traumatic event that affects people in many ways. People react differently to them, with some having fractures and other injuries immediately it happens. With others, the lesions may not present themselves until later on after the accident. It may take even weeks, months or years to show. This may be stressful since you might have dismissed signing a settlement form with the insurance company of the driver at fault because the injuries were not there when it happened. If this happens to you, you might want to know what options for compensation are there and what course of action to take.
Types Of Pain That Are Delayed After An Accident
Once you have been involved in an accident, it is prudent to note that a headache may not be as normal as it was before. It may be something that you may need to watch out for since it may indicate signs of a severe injury that was not discovered before. These are some of the types of pain that should get immediate attention once you start experiencing them.
A neck injury, concussion or even blood clot can result in headaches or dizziness. You should pay attention to the location of the problem and its severity. A severe headache may also indicate a brain injury, especially if your head was hit violently in the accident. You should see a medical practitioner immediately you get this symptom, to rule out anything.
- Back Pain
Pain, especially in the lower back, may indicate an injury related to whiplash. It could also show signs of a sprain or muscle damage. If it comes with numbness or tingling, it could mean that you have pinched nerves.
- Pain In The Neck Or Shoulders
It could point to a herniated disc or even spinal injury. It could also be a symptom of whiplash. Once you experience this, you should have some tests done.
- Abdominal Pain
If left untreated, internal injuries can be fatal. Internal bleeding can cause dizziness and headaches.
- Emotional Distress
There are many physical symptoms that one may have after an accident. However, the emotional ones are much harder to detect and can be very traumatic. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some of the other psychological problems may appear way later after the accident. Below are some of the symptom of emotional distress that you should see a doctor immediately you notice them.
- Mood Swings
- You are having difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Memory loss
- Loss of interest in things you loved doing
- Panic attacks
Seeking Medical Attention
Having delayed symptoms after an accident can be stressful since the insurers may be critical of the timing. Once you experience these symptoms, you should consult a doctor to do tests on you and see the extent of the injuries. Even though the accident was minor, seek medical help immediately to rule out anything. If you do not, the other side may claim that something happened in between the car accident and the injury. This may make it hard to prove that the accident caused the symptoms.
Get Yourself A Personal Injury Lawyer
Once you have seen your doctor, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case. They will be able to negotiate with the insurers and also strengthen your claim. They will ensure that you are not unfairly penalized because the symptoms took too long to appear. They will also guide you on how to argue your case and what compensation you stand to get. Also, they will get an accurate estimate of the medical costs that may be incurred later if your condition will take long before it clears. They will also help build your case by using the medical experts to show that the injuries did not manifest until after the accident.
Having delayed injuries after a car accident can be frustrating for most people since they had thought that they were okay. Seeking compensation can be quite tricky since some of these injuries can take months before they show symptoms. It is therefore advised to get yourself a personal injury lawyer to ensure that the claims process goes on smoothly and you are compensated fairly.
Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 at 5:59 pm
Some people who have been struggling to stop smoking tobacco have turned to so called e-cigarettes, also known as vaping. E-cigarettes are touted as a safer alternative to the well known health dangers of long term smoking. However, e-cigarettes have their own risks as has been stated several times already by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The death of William Brown in Fort Worth earlier this year is just one example of what can happen when an e-cigarette user gets hold of a faulty pen.
The Fort Worth accident happened on January 27th this year. Brown had gone to a local vape store, apparently to ask for help with his vape pen, a brand called Mechanical Mod. The owner of the store declined to help him as he said that that type of vape pen was known to have faults. Not long after, Brown was seen clutching his throat and obviously in severe pain. The store owner called for emergency services who arrived swiftly and took Brown to a nearby hospital. Brown died two days later of a stroke that had been caused by an injury to his carotid artery. It appeared that the vape pen had exploded and a piece of the device had lodged in his neck, severing his carotid artery.
Battery faults singled out as cause of explosion accidents
This was not the only accident involving an exploding e-cigarette. There have been several others in other states, although as the FDA has noted, the explosions have not been common and it can be hard to be sure that a particular brand of e-cigarette may or may not be potentially deadly. The other accidents have all involved faults in the chargeable batteries that power the e-cigarette. The battery either gets so hot that it literally explodes under pressure or explodes during recharging. Readers may remember similar faults a couple of years ago with the Lithium ion rechargeable batteries installed in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 cell phones. These batteries caused several severe injuries at unexpected times, including on air flights, eventually leading to Samsung recalling the devices in September 2016.
One incident involving an e-cigarette last year involved the device catching fire when in someone’s pocket. In this case, it seems that it was the contact between the pen and loose change in the North Carolina man’s pocket that may have caused the fire. The victim in this case was severely burned. The man felt the cigarette burning in his pants pocket just before arriving at his home. He leapt out of the car and the cigarette then burst into flames and exploded with shrapnel hitting his face.
A report in July 2017 by the U.S. Fire Administration confirmed that most explosions had at that point mostly occurred when the e-cigarette was in someone’s pocket. The report said that although most of these explosions can be dealt with quite easily, some are potentially deadly.
E-cigarettes not just explosive but potentially toxic
The FDA says that e-cigarette use has exploded amongst younger people in particular. The dangers to users may on the whole be less than smoking tobacco, but they still exist, and not just because of the possibility of battery explosions. Some toxic substances that are known to be present in tobacco smoke are also present when inhaling e-cigarette fumes, although in reduced amounts. These substances are known to be carcinogenic. Added to that are the possible repercussions of faulty batteries or charging methods.
It has been suggested that battery problems can be minimized by carefully reading charging and handling instructions. Leaving them exposed to too much heat or enclosed in pockets for too long may exacerbate battery temperatures and lead to explosion. Part of the problem seems to be the number of different e-cigarettes on the market and the lack of proper regulation. It is just not known at this stage whether the possibility of explosion and fire is something shared by all e-cigarettes or only certain defective brands.
One thing is for sure. If e-cigarette use and vaping continues to expand without proper regulation, there will be more serious injuries and fatalities that will occur in the future. There is no excuse for manufacturing or distributing devices that have been known to have caused unexpected burns and lacerations from flying shrapnel. If this has happened to you, then you should contact a defective product lawyer in San Antonio as soon as you can to discuss what legal action you can take. Contact The Injury Lawyer San Antonio for professional and dedicated legal help at 833-210-4878.