The newest fad exploding on the street is the craze surrounding e-cigarettes and vapor pens. Many people believe it is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, which contain nicotine and other chemicals. For years we have known about the health dangers and risks that cigarettes cause; but, with e-cigarettes and vapor pens just coming on to the market, we have no idea what the long term effects these products could have on our bodies. However, what we do know is that because e-cigarettes and vapor pens are battery operated, the risk of injury from the simple use of these products can create an immediate harm to the user if they are defective.
This past October, a California court awarded a woman $1.9 million for injuries she sustained after the battery in her e-cigarette exploded while she was driving in the car. The injured woman had just plugged the e-cigarette into its car charger when the battery exploded into her lap. Her dress caught fire as flames spit out of the e-cigarette. At one point, the woman tried to jump out of the moving car, but her husband pulled her back in and poured ice coffee on her to put out the flames. As a result of this explosion, the woman suffered second-degree burns on her legs, buttocks, and hand.
In the five years since e-cigarettes have been on the market, there have been 25 reported incidents of fire or explosion involving these devices reported in the media. Eighty percent of these accidents have been attributed to issues caused while the device is charging. There are approximately 2.5 million people who use these devices; and, while only 25 incidents have been reported, there are likely many more that have gone unreported.
Pennsylvania’s View on Liability
Those that manufacture products to be sold in Pennsylvania will be liable for injuries that defective products cause to consumers. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has come down with a stricter view on product liability claims in the past couple of years. Recently, the Court held that if a plaintiff can demonstrate that the product contains a defective condition through the consumer expectation test or the risk-utility test, then there may be liability on the part of the manufacturer.
If you have been injured by an e-cigarette, vapor pen, or any defective product, it is in your best interest to seek medical help immediately. It is also important that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. A Philadelphia personal injury lawyer may be able to help you navigate the intricacies of a personal injury lawsuit to help get you the compensation that you deserve.