Home  >  Archive by category "Product Liability"

Defective E-Cigarettes Can Cause Severe Injuries

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.

Different Types of Defective Product Liability Claims

Posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 at 9:36 pm    

Every year, there are thousands of cases filed regarding defective product liability. Product liability means that the manufacturer, seller or company is held responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of defective products. An inherent defect in products causes damage to the consumers, consequently becoming the subject to the defective product liability claim. According to product liability law, once this claim is made, the company or manufacturer has to pay for compensation for the damage and loss caused by that defective product.

How a Product is claimed as Defective?

Claims regarding defective products are based on factors such as strict liability, negligence, or violation of warranty of fitness of the product. Although, products are considered tangible things, however, the purview of this claim has expanded to the intangibles, naturals, writings or real estate. This claim can be made against any party involved or relevant to the defective product:

  • Manufacturer
  • Assembler or installer
  • Manufacturer of other parts of the products
  • The Wholesaler
  • The retailer or seller of the product

Regardless of the jurisdiction of the party, the plaintiff has to prove that the product is defective. There are three main categories of a defective product which will determine the validity of the claim:

Defect while Manufacturing the Product:

Most often the claims are made under this category. A claim about the defect in a product during manufacturing which has caused an injury to the consumer is appropriate. The product had already a flaw in the making at the factory which caused the damage.

For instance, if there is a bicycle with a weak chain or cracked frame, a defective batch of medicine with a harmful substance, or car with defective airbags or tires. In order to prove such cases, the injury should have occurred due to a manufacturing fault and not the defect that developed later on.

Defects in Designs of the Products:

Defects in design also cause injury and the subsequent claim will be made as the product was inherently hazardous. This claim will not be made given an error or mistake, instead, the whole range of the product is dangerous, regardless of the fact that the defective product was made according to the requirements.

For instance, the airbags do not protect completely, are too thin to absorb the impact of a crash or collision; or a batch of sunglasses which does not protect the eye from ultraviolet rays.

Not Providing Enough Instructions or Warnings:

If a person uses a product and gets injured because there was no sufficient warning regarding the usage of the product, the claim will be made under the category of failure to warn. Such claims arise when a product is dangerous in such a way which is not obvious nor there a warning about the potential danger involved in using it, or the consumer needs to take extra care to use the product and nothing such is mentioned in the instructions.

For instance, an oven is packaged without any sufficient instruction that the surface gets hot after a certain temperature. The injury in such cases must be the consequence of failure to warn.

While facing these claims, the manufacturer may raise the defense that the plaintiff may have altered the product which caused the harm or he or she has not identified the supplier which may have caused harm. In such complicated situations, it is important to hire the services of a competent product liability attorney who can fight to recover your compensation.

Ford Recalls F-150s Over Seat Belt Pretensioner Problems

Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018 at 1:36 am    

Owners of F-150 trucks manufactured between 2015 and 2018 were last month recalled as a result of a seat belt pretensioner fault. The fault could potentially cause a fire in combustible material inside the vehicle if not dealt with.

One might wonder just how a seat belt could set an F-150 alight. Ford trucks are a common sight on Texan roads, as they are elsewhere across the U.S. and Canada. It is the Regular and SuperCrew cab models that have been recalled, which number around 2 million in the U.S. with a third of a million more in Canada and around 34,000 in Mexico.

This is not the first time that a supposed safety feature has caused a problem. Vehicle owners have already witnessed several recalls of air bags over the last few years, so what’s wrong with these seat belts?

The defect in the pretensioner

Apparently, it’s a malfunction in some of the pretensioners fitted. A pretensioner, for anyone who isn’t aware of its existence, is a small component fitted under the seat belt clip which contains a small explosive device. If pressure is suddenly put on it as might happen during a crash, the explosive device lets off a charge which causes the belt to tighten on the wearer. Similar, but not identical small explosive devices are part of the airbag system, causing the airbag to expand when there is a crash situation. The explosives are thought to increase the response time when there is a crash. In the case of the airbag it ensures that the airbag inflates in the split second that is available before the passenger or driver flies forwards. The same applies to the seat belt, except that the tightening of the clip holds the wearer more firmly in one place.

The malfunctioning components have been observed letting off smoke when they shouldn’t be. Only around 20 have been definitely observed to be faulty, but this is enough for Ford to make the call to recall all trucks fitted with this type of pretensioner. The main fear that Ford has is not so much the smoke let off from the pretensioners, but the fact that there have been some sparks seen emitted as well. The recalled vehicles are being refitted with better insulation in the back cab panels and the B-pillar and carpet just in case some of the sparks set off a fire in the cab. This could cause serious burning injuries as well as a severe headache in terms of personal injury claims for Ford itself.

Ford and the NHTSA have asked F-150 owners not to meddle with the pretensioners or the insulation themselves, even if returning their vehicle seems a hassle. The modifications are done free.

Takata involved again

2015 to 2017 Ford trucks of the type recalled had pretensioners fitted manufactured by Takata, a company involved in the largest vehicle recall in U.S. history. By the time all vehicles with defective Takata made Alpha air bags have been recalled, over 70 million will have been involved. To jog the memory of those who weren’t involved in the Takata recall, but heard about it, the defective air bags exploded on inflation causing nasty burns to anyone sitting behind them.

Luckily, this time around, no-one has yet been injured by pretensioner faults as far as the NHTSA is aware. Ford truck pretensioners are now no longer made by Takata. The 2018 model truck parts are now made by a German company, ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

If you have any questions about a vehicle recall, especially if you think you have noticed a defective part, talk to a defective part attorney at our San Antonio Lawyer’s office here in San Antonio. The contact number is 833-210-4878.