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E-Cigarette Explosion And Burn Injury Lawsuits

Nadrich & Cohen is actively retaining those who have been injured by exploding e-cigarette batteries.

E-cigarettes utilize lithium ion batteries. These batteries are known to spontaneously explode. They contain flammable electrolytes and a combination of excessive battery voltage and excessively low resistance sometimes causes an e-cigarette’s heating coil to overheat, damaging the battery and allowing “thermal runaway” to occur.

Call us now for a free consultation at 800-718-4658 if you or a loved one was injured by an exploding e-cigarette battery. You may be eligible for financial compensation, and we won’t charge you a fee for our services unless and until we obtain compensation for you. You can also fill out the “Do I Have A Case” form on the right. You can even email us at info@personalinjurylawcal.com or have a talk with one of our live chat representatives.

E-Cigarette Explosions: How Safe Are These Nicotine Substitutes?

Millions of Americans have turned to e-cigarettes to get their nicotine fix since they are often advertised as safer than traditional cigarettes. Many people are getting injured by these electronic devices, though. E-cigarette users are having their e-cigs literally exploding in their face, or in their pocket when they’re not even in use. This begs the question: how safe are e-cigarettes?

Between January 1, 2016 and March 1, 2016, the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) Burn Center treated six people who had been injured by e-cigarettes. The explosions are causing third-degree burns which require skin grafts. The hospital treated one case in which a 19-year-old suffered a burn on his thigh after an e-cigarette battery exploded in his pocket.

Because e-cigarettes are unregulated, it’s unknown exactly how many similar incidents have occurred. A report from the U.S. Fire Administration showed that between 2009 and 2016, 133 acute injuries occurred due to exploding e-cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified 66 explosions in 2015 and 2016. These are not really significant numbers, considering that 11 percent of Americans use e-cigarettes.

But even though the numbers are still low, they are increasing. Harborview Medical Center in Seattle treats one e-cigarette injury per month. The injuries consist of tissue injuries to the mouth, tendons and hands. Burns often occur on the hands and face. Some injuries have been so severe that they have caused broken burns and blindness.

Why Are They Exploding?

While it can be scary to think that an e-cigarette can explode, it’s important to remember that they are electronic devices. Unlike traditional cigarettes, they are battery-powered and prone to malfunction.

E-Cigarette Explosion And Burn Injury Lawsuits

An e-cigarette is composed of three pieces. There is the atomizer (heating element), battery and cartridge (which stores the liquid nicotine). It appears that the battery may be causing the explosions.

While e-cigarettes have exploded in the user’s hands or pockets, 80% of explosions occur while the battery is charging. This is likely because of the use of lithium batteries. These batteries are small but pack a lot of power. It’s the equivalent of gasoline combining with heat. As such, batteries have the ability to spontaneously combust.

The U.S. Fire Administration says the “typical failure mode” for a lithium ion battery involves the flammable liquid electrolyte in the battery being heated to its boiling point, causing internal pressure in the battery to build to a point where its seal ruptures. The electrolyte then typically ignites.

While we use other devices that contain a lithium battery – like smartphone, laptops and cameras – none of these are combined with a heating element like an e-cigarette.

Some brands of e-cigarettes are safer than others. Some rechargeable kits and personal vaporizers appear to be the safest. That’s because the battery disconnects from the device and charges away from the other parts.

Vape pens, on the other hand, have a built-in USB port. This means that the entire e-cig is charging. With the battery next to the heating element, the risk of explosion is very high.

Preventing E-Cigarette Explosions

To prevent explosions, follow these precautions:

  • Charge the e-cig only with the power adapter and charger that comes with it. Do not use different chargers.
  • Buy from a reputable source in order to avoid counterfeits.
  • Do not plug the e-cig into a computer.
  • When removing batteries, place them in a case instead of leaving them loose in a pocket. Do not place them around keys, coins and other metal objects.
  • Do not overcharge the battery. The e-cig should not be constantly plugged in.
  • Use e-cigs that have batteries that are removed from the atomizer. These are safer than e-cigs that require you to plug in the entire device for charging.

Cigarette smoking claims many more lives than e-cigarettes ever will, yet we don’t hear about those cases. E-cigarettes are still relatively safe, as long as they are used properly.

How We Can Obtain Compensation For Your E-Cigarette Burn Injury

We may be able to obtain compensation for your e-cigarette burn injury by filing a lawsuit based on negligence and strict liability.

Negligence

We are the experts at proving negligence, as negligence is typically the heart of any personal injury lawsuit. Those who are found to be negligent in California are liable for any injuries caused by their negligence.

Negligence is failing to use reasonable care to prevent harm. It is negligent to do what a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation. It is negligent to not do what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation. Acting and failing to act can both be negligent. Juries are instructed to consider what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation as a defendant when evaluating negligence claims.

The tendency towards exploding that e-cigarette batteries possess has long been known. A 2013 review found that “the inherent characteristics of lithium batteries can pose a risk of fire explosion,” adding that “poor design, use of low-quality materials, manufacturing flaws and defects, and improper use and handling can all contribute to” battery fires and explosions.

A 2015 case report noted that “awareness of the potential for serious burn injuries associated with e-cigarette use is important from a public health standpoint,” adding that “the potential for serious burn injuries related to device malfunction is of concern.”

A 2018 review found that 48 out of 164 e-cigarette burn injuries required skin grafting, and that e-cigarette burn injuries were typically second-degree burns or a combination of second and third-degree burns.

We believe that a reasonably careful entity would not manufacture, market and sell a product which is known to spontaneously explode, injuring people. We believe that a reasonably careful entity would perform adequate testing on their products to make sure that their products don’t pose an explosion risk.

We believe that e-cigarette fire and explosion injuries are the result of negligence, as we believe they are the result of companies knowingly selling batteries with a tendency to ignite and explode, without adequately testing the batteries.

Strict Liability

E-cigarette makers are strictly liable in California for any injuries caused by their products which are the result of a design defect, a manufacturing defect and/or a failure to warn.

Products with manufacturing defects had something unexpected go wrong during the process of making the product, causing the product to be unreasonably dangerous. Products with design defects are unreasonably dangerous when manufactured correctly and as expected. The design itself is defective. Products sold in California must have adequate warnings on their labels regarding any dangers posed by the product.

We believe that the exploding lithium ion batteries are inherently defective by design because they utilize flammable electrolytes. We also believe manufacturing defects may be causing excessive battery voltage and excessively low resistance to occur, leading to “thermal runaway” reactions.

We believe e-cigarette makers knew or should have known about the risks of exploding lithium ion batteries and warned about these risks on the product labeling.

E-Cigarette Explosion And Burn Injury Lawyers

Our experienced, battle-tested lawyers are masters at recovering fair compensation for our clients’ injuries, having recovered over $350,000,000 on behalf of clients since 1990. The insurance companies respect Nadrich & Cohen and fear us taking over your e-cigarette injury claim.

Our attorneys offer a no fee promise, meaning our only fee is a percentage of your recovery. We do not charge a fee if we don’t obtain a recovery.

Call us now at 800-718-4658 for a free consultation if you or a loved one suffered from an e-cigarette explosion or burn injury. You may be eligible for a financial recovery.