E-cigarettes and other vape devices were billed as being more healthy than regular tobacco cigarettes. And while the jury is still out as far as well-functioning devices are concerned, e-cigs have been exploding in our faces pretty much since their inception.
In one of the more recent cases, 24-year-old Texan William Brown was killed after shrapnel from an e-cigarette explosion peppered his skull and severed his left carotid artery. So, what happens, legally, after these tragedies?
Even two years ago, stories of exploding e-cigs causing burns, facial fractures, missing teeth, and driving accidents were fairly common. And knowledge of that danger — accompanied by a failure to address design, manufacture, or warning defects — could be a factor in determining a manufacturer’s liability in a lawsuit.
The frequency with which those lawsuits are being filed has been increasing. Over 120 lawsuits claiming e-cigarette injuries were filed in 2017 alone. Some claimed the devices exploded in their mouth, knocking out teeth and causing third-degree burns. Others alleged they were scorched when vaporizer batteries caught fire. And Brown is not the first person to be killed by an exploding e-cigarette. The U.S. Fire Administration even warned that e-cigarette battery failures present a unique hazard as “no other consumer product places a battery with a known explosion hazard such as this in such close proximity to the human body.”
Like most personal injury claims, lawsuits based on e-cigarette malfunctions will depend on the kind and extent of the injuries sustained. And, as noted above, additional damages could depend on whether the manufacturer was aware of the risk, and whether they took any measures to prevent such accidents.
To find out how much your specific claim might be worth, contact a local personal injury attorney.