Burn Injuries Overview
Consumer products are subjected to rules and regulations, but sometimes that isn’t enough to protect you and your family from harm. Many people across the country have experienced the devastation of burn injuries and explosions in their homes or places of work.
Pipeline explosions have destroyed hard-earned homes, batteries have exploded in pockets, children have been rushed to a hospital for sustaining preventable injuries– and nothing compares to the feeling of finding out something could have been done to prevent the disruption to your quality of life. Our fire and explosion lawyers are here to help you hold those accountable for putting your safety and livelihood at risk.
Why Johnson // Becker?
Our lawyers are experts at winning product liability and personal injury cases. We have years of experience serving justice and helping everyday Americans win cases against big names and corporations. Oftentimes people don’t know where to start when it comes to finding the right kind of legal help to mitigate their dilemma from fires and explosions. Allow us to walk you through the process with dignity.
Causes of Explosions
Burn injury and explosions occur for a variety of reasons, and many people are unaware of the dangers in their own home. There are certain household everyday items that have the potential to cause injury to you or your family. Read more below, or click to the area you have personally been affected by so we can help.
Pressure Cooker Explosions
Our law firm deeply involved in this litigation and our lawyers have represented over 200 clients who have been severely burned by exploding pressure cookers. These household appliances have been linked to explosions, leading to severe burns and property damage. They have been marketed aggressively to families by advocating easier cleanup and quick cooking.
Pressure cookers work by trapping steam inside a tightly sealed lid. Once the food is done cooking, steam has to be released– otherwise the built-up pressure will cause the contents to explode outward. There have been many problems with pressure cookers because any component that is jeopardized, (such as a pressure release valve or sealing ring) can cause the pressure cooker to explode.
Pressure cookers are either manual stovetop, or electronic that can be plugged into an outlet. Recent features of electronic pressure cookers are digital timers, various cooking setting, and automatic steam release valves. They are known to reach temperatures of over 200 degrees to thoroughly cook the contents. That means that if the device explodes, those hot contents will spill out on anyone or anything around them, leading to second and third degree burns.
Pressure Cooker Injuries
Pressure cookers have caused severe burns to users as well as those within the vicinity of the explosion.
A 9-year-old boy was severely burned after a pressure cooker in his grandmother’s home exploded hot contents across his body. Aiden Tuley recalled the event in an interview with KFOR. He and his grandmother believed they had too much water in the pressure cooker. It was only within minutes, that the device exploded.
Aiden recalled it “felt like it was piercing through my skin and it’s just awful.” He was covered in 2nd degree burns and blisters across his body and arms, and indicated sometimes it was hard to sleep at night due to the pain.
In the video below, Aiden is seen in the hospital and giving an interview with a reporter.
(GRAPHIC WARNING: some of the images may disturb viewers.)
In March 2018, a woman in Texas suffered severe burns when her pressure cooker exploded in her kitchen.
Some of the brands we are currently accepting new cases on are:
- Wolfgang Puck Pressure Cooker
- Philippe Richards Pressure Cooker
- Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
- Mirro Pressure Cooker
- NuWave Nutri-Pot Pressure Cooker
- Power Pressure Cooker XL
- Elite Bistro Pressure Cooker
- Cook’s Essentials Pressure Cooker
- Fagor Pressure Cooker
- Cuisinart Pressure Cooker
- HSN Ultrex Pressure Cooker
- Prestige Smartplus Pressure Cooker
- ALDI Crofton Pressure Cookers
- Ginny’s Pressure Cooker
Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cooker (2020 Recall)
Lithium-Ion Battery Explosion
From scooters to electronic cigarettes, lithium-ion batteries (or, Li-On) are used to power and charge many devices. They have gained popularity over the decades because they allow recharging capabilities for certain devices. Many companies use non-brand lithium-ion batteries from overseas, notably China, due to the cheaper price. But this comes at a cost as these types of batteries don’t have the same safety standards as name brand counterparts.
In recent years, lithium-ion batteries have helped develop interesting products aimed at transportation. From Segway to electric scooters, users around the country have been flocking towards these new devices. However, some of them may be more dangerous than originally thought.
In 2018, Lime company recalled over 2,000 of its scooters from the consumer market because the rechargeable batteries caused the device to spontaneously catch fire. This poses a huge safety hazard for riders, especially on busy streets in major cities across the United States.
The scooters were manufactured by compact transportation company, Segway. Lime issued a statement the batteries were fire-prone due to a welding issue that caused them to short circuit.
The popular battery-powered Hoverboards have been the major cause of controversy after many reports came in of the device catching fire. Notably, the Fox family in Nashville filed a $30 million lawsuit against the manufacturer after losing their home to a fire caused by a malfunctioning Hoverboard.
It was alleged in court documents that retail giant Amazon (which sold the device) knew about the fire hazard well-before the family lost their home. The Hoverboard was used for only about two weeks by the Fox’s son before it caught on fire and altered the everyone’s life.
Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping
Another device that uses lithium-ion batteries are electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), or colloquially named, ‘vapes’. Many people have found vaping helps combat their addiction to smoking cigarettes or cigars.
E-cigarettes have gained tons of popularity within the last decade, not only because of the controversy they increase teen smoking or may cause seizures, but they can explode while in use or charging. From manufacturers, distributors, or retailers, many lawsuits have been filed against the entire supply chain of these devices due to property damage and personal injury.
The injuries seen from vape pen explosions include second and third degree burns. Life-threatening explosions have also contributed to the dangers of these cigarette replacement units. They work by heating up a liquid, known as ‘juice’, which then produces a flavorful vapor to be inhaled. There are thousands of juice flavors available to users that come in a variety of nicotine strengths.
Vapes use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can be charged through an AC adaptor or battery pack. The batteries supply power to the heating unit in order to deliver the vapor. It sounds like a simple process, but the vicinity of the vape to the body is dangerous if there is a misfire. E-cigarettes explode when the lithium-ion battery inside the device overheats.
In 2018, a vape exploded in the face of a teenager and shattered his jaw. Like many people who turn to vaping, he was trying to quit smoking. He suffered a blast injury around his lower jaw, a hole through his gums, as well as burns around his mouth and lips. His mother had to drive him five hours to the nearest hospital that specialized in his specific injuries.
For more information on the dangers of e-cigarette explosions, please click here.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Among the most popular of lithium-ion dangers is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which became a global nightmare for the company.
In 2016, the cell phones were so dangerous that even the Aviation Administration banned them from all domestic flights. Anthony Foxx, then Transportation Secretary said, “We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”
At the time, Samsung had received 96 reports of the batteries overheating, 13 reports of burns, and 47 reports of property damage.
Propane Gas Explosion
Propane is a highly combustable gas, often referred to as LP gas. It can ignite and explode easily. Many state, local, and federal regulations have implemented standards and restrictions for using propane. Our attorneys have the knowledge and ability to understand such laws, as well as resources to investigate the exact cause of the explosion.
Odor is usually a sign of a propane leak, which should be remedied immediately upon detection. The manufacturer of propane adds the strong odor for this reason exactly. However, there are environmental situations that cause the odor to lose its distinct smell over time.This can leave some people with an unsuspecting leak and may result in a terrible explosion. There may even be “underfilling” of the propane tanks by the manufacturer, which would leave them liable for any injuries, death, or property damage.
Natural Gas Explosion
As many pipelines in the United States originate from the 1950’s and earlier, it’s imperative the pipelines are properly inspected, maintained, and repaired. Pipeline companies, the gas company, or the manufacturer have a responsibility not to cut corners; they may be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death if the pipes fail to operate safely.
Many of the products that cause such blasts are water heaters, outdoor grills, ovens, generators, or fireplaces. The majority of pipeline explosions happen due to the gas line or defective gas product. Leaks, ruptures, stuck safety valves, and other defects increase the likelihood for a pipeline to explode. This puts many people and families at risk of severe injury.
Boiler explosions are caused when there is excessive pressure in a boiler system, either in the home or office space. These types of explosions can destroy an entire building, or cause significant damage to one. There are fuel-related boiler explosions that happen when combustable gases aren’t released from the firebox. Sometimes they are due to a boiler operating with inadequate water supply.
Due to flaws in design or manufacturing of a boiler, claims opened when it comes to boiler explosions are strict liability claims and the injured party doesn’t have to prove there was negligence on the manufacturers part.
Design flaw claims include improper material selection, poor structure design, lack of safety accessories, and more. Manufacturing flaws include poor assembly, inadequate testing, inadequate inspection. The owner of a boiler in a building may be found liable for the explosion if there were failures to provide safety equipment, necessary water, excessive pressure, monitoring of problems, or operation as recommended by the manufacturer.
Dangers and Injuries of Explosions
The dangers of explosions and their subsequent causes can not only cause burns, but they cause a multitude of other problems that may never be solved. Fires and explosions have been known to cause conditions that require ongoing medical attention. That’s why it’s important to have legal representation that advocates for you or your family to receive financial compensation. You may not realize how much your quality of life is impacted until after the fact, years down the road.
Smoke Inhalation and Respiratory Damage
When it comes to the leading cause of death in explosions or fires, it’s because of smoke inhalation. Not only are chemicals released into the air and burned, but they cause damage to the esophagus or lungs. Though this is considered a type of burn injury, smoke inhalation also prevents oxygen from getting to the lungs. Smoke inhalation can cause a variety of issues such as:
- Cerebral anoxia, lack of oxygen
Atelectasis, full or partial lunch collapse
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a fluid build-up in the alveoli (or, air sacs) in the lungs which causes severe shortness of breath
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, which causes headaches, nausea, fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms. This can also lead to brain damage or death.
- Cyanide Poisoning, can lead to heart attack, seizure, stroke, coma, or death. It causes weakness, confusion, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, or erratic behavior.
- Hypoxia, brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.
Aside from the above mentioned side effects of smoke inhalation, brain damage can occur after explosions if the body has hit a hard surface, or if something hits it during the explosion. Pressure from explosions can cause headache, nausea, dizziness, unexplained drowsiness, blurred vision, or cognitive problems.
In some cases, blasts from explosions can cause blunt force trauma to the chest. This may result in pressure on the heart and cause cardiac arrest or other damage. Additionally, sharp, frayed, or mangled debris can lead to laceration or piercing of the heart muscle, valves, arteries, or veins. This can cause damaging internal bleeding.
As previously mentioned, explosions can cause debris to fly through the air at high speeds and impact anyone nearby. Being slammed into the ground or the wall can cause major injuries. Building structures, apartments, or houses can collapse or cause debris to fall onto those below. Bones can be crushed or broken, there can be nerve and organ damage, or even severe bleeding due to being crushed.
The ears are a very sensitive part of the body and explosions can severely impact the hearing. Oftentimes soldiers suffer hearing loss due to explosions while fighting in war – the same can happen during an explosion at home. The overpressure from the blast can rupture the tympanic membrane, or fracture ossicles in the middle ear. This can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Vision and Eyesight
Another complication from explosions is the impact on the eyes. Eye injuries come in the form of:
- Orbital fracture, a break in the eye socket bone
- Ruptured globes, a tearing in the white part of the eye (cornea and/or sclera)
- Traumatic optic neuropathy, damage to the optic nerve in the eye
- Total eye loss
Additionally, the eyes may be impacted if there is heavy smoke that irritates them. Tiny particles from an explosion can lead to tearing and irritation of the eyes.
Filing a Burn or Explosion Lawsuit
It’s important to know what the legal process looks like when filing a burn or explosion lawsuit. Our attorneys realize that understanding legal language is oftentimes difficult. That’s why we’re here to walk you through the process, step by step.
Contact Johnson // Becker to speak with our burn and explosion lawyers for your Free Case Evaluation. We will respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.