Electronic cigarettes, which are called “e-cigarettes,” “e-cigs,” or “vape pens,” have become popular products in the U.S. over the past decade. Thanks in part to aggressive marketing, many smokers have turned to e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco. An entire industry of vape shops and distributors has sprung up to manufacture and sell e-cigarettes, the fluid they use (“vape juice”), and chargers for reusable models.
Reusable and disposable e-cigarettes can be extremely dangerous due to their sensitive lithium ion batteries. There have been multiple reports of e-cigarettes exploding without warning in the user’s hands, face, or pockets due to broken and defective batteries, leading to serious burns, extensive scarring, and other debilitating injuries. Numerous e-cigarette explosion victims have already brought claims alleging that negligence resulted in serious injuries.
If you or a family member was injured by an exploding vape pen or exploding e-cigarette, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the resulting medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. To speak confidentially with an e-cigarette injury lawyer in a free legal consultation, contact the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (215) 666-7777 right away.
E-cigarettes have been popular for many years, but were unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to August 8, 2016, when the FDA finalized a new rule to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, which are classified as “electronic nicotine delivery systems” (ENDS).
Because these regulations are so new, there may still be confusion and, consequently, issues with noncompliance among many businesses, which increases the risk of a defective product reaching the consumer. However, that is not an excuse for producing or distributing products that can seriously harm consumers even when used as directed. If a consumer is injured or killed due to the negligence or carelessness of a company that designs, manufactures, stores, or ships e-cigarettes or e-cigarette accessories, such as batteries or charging devices, the consumer or their surviving loved ones may be entitled to compensation.
Because e-cigarettes can overheat and explode, there is high potential for two types of injuries: burn injuries, and shrapnel injuries.
Unlike tobacco cigarettes, which rely on combustion (burning), e-cigarettes use vaporization, a process where flavored oil called “e-juice” or “vape juice” is heated into vapor that can then be inhaled. For this process to work, the product needs to generate extremely high temperatures. If improperly designed, assembled, stored, or transported, the batteries can overheat and produce powerful explosions with no warning. Explosions, fires, and burns can also occur while the product is charging, being placed into storage by a worker, or simply sitting in a consumer’s pocket.
Because e-cigarettes are usually kept on or close to the body, explosions typically occur at point-blank range, amplifying the danger even more. If the product is being held, smoked, or stored in a pants pocket, catastrophic tissue damage is virtually guaranteed when the e-cigarette explodes or catches fire. Even if the product is charging in another room, and is far away enough that no injuries occur, the resulting smoke and fire can still cause costly property damage.
In addition to third degree burns, shrapnel injuries are another major concern with defective vape pens and e-cig batteries. When an object explodes, tiny fragments of broken material are propelled away from the explosion at very high speeds. Sharp, irregular shards of hot metal and plastic can fly off of exploding e-cigarettes and embed themselves in the victim’s face, neck, chest, arms, or other exposed areas of the body, causing lacerations, fractures, or puncture wounds.
E-cigarette packaging frequently fails to include prominent warnings about these hazards, leaving consumers unaware of the dangers. When failure to warn consumers of health and safety risks leads to preventable injuries, there may be grounds for a lawsuit or personal injury claim.
When one person is injured by the carelessness or negligence of another, the injury victim may decide to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Victims of e-cigarette explosion injuries can be compensated for an array of “economic damages” (financial losses) and “non-economic damages,” such as pain and suffering, that were caused by the vape pen injury. Damages available in e-cigarette injury cases may include:
In addition to compensation for losses which have already occurred, additional compensation may be available for losses that are expected to occur. For example, if a severe burn injury causes the victim to lose function in their dominant hand, he or she may be rendered unable to work and be entitled to compensation for loss of earning capacity.
If you or someone in your family was injured while smoking, charging, holding, or carrying an electronic cigarette, you should review your legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney. To learn more about filing an electronic cigarette explosion lawsuit in a free and confidential legal consultation, contact the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (215) 666-7777.