Exploding E-Cigs To Blame In Product Liability Lawsuits
The use of e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional smoking has exploded over the past few years. So too have the e-cigarettes themselves, according to recent lawsuits. Product liability lawsuits filed against e-cigarette companies allege that defects in the design of the batteries are responsible for a number of injuries. More than 120 lawsuits across the U.S. claim that various e-cig batteries have exploded in the faces of unsuspecting users.
Injuries caused by the defective batteries range from extensive burns to lost teeth. Others say that the batteries burned through their pockets causing skin damage to their legs and groin. Still, another lost an eye and suffered extensive damage to the bones in their face. There has been at least one wrongful death lawsuit filed against e-cig companies in which shrapnel from an exploding cigarette and an ensuing fire caused the death of a man in upstate New York.
Much of the issue surrounding e-cigarettes and the companies that manufacture them is that the vaporizer technology on which they are based is relatively new. As companies search for more cost-effective ways to manufacture the items, no testing process exists to ensure their safety.
Consumer Error vs. Preventable Defects
What makes the e-cigarette issue interesting is that there is a great deal of ambiguity concerning what constitutes a product defect and what constitutes consumer mishandling of the product. Many of the worst explosions that have occurred are due to what are called modular boxes. These are rebuildable vaporizers that allow users to replace individual parts of the device as opposed to replacing the entire device. They are also highly customizable. If the device is not rebuilt properly, that’s when manufacturers say the majority of the injuries happen.
Nonetheless, companies that manufacture and sell consumer products that are liable to be dangerous are themselves responsible for adequately warning customers about the possible dangers involved with their product.
Different Kinds of Product Liability in Florida
When a product results in injury to a customer, the manufacturer may not necessarily be liable for that damage. On the other hand, an injured party does not necessarily have to prove negligence under Florida law. The injured party must only prove damages and that the product caused the damages. The company can argue, however, that the injured party misused the product and therefore are (at least) partly to blame for sustaining injuries.
This is called comparative negligence or comparative fault. In the case of an e-cigarette manufacturer whose product causes an injury to a person or their property, the manufacturer may argue that the injured party misused their product. The injured party may, in turn, argue that they should have been made aware of the danger prior to their injury.
In that event, the decision is likely to come down to assigning a percentage of the fault to the injured party and a percentage of the fault to the product manufacturer. This would entitle the injured party to recoup some of their expenses, usually a majority.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have been injured by a defective product, the attorneys at the Miami office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. are prepared to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for assistance with your case.