E-cigarettes are part of a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, serving more than 2.5 million users. However the safety of e-cigarettes has been called into question with the US Fire Administration reporting at least 20 fires which have been attributed to the device’s battery since 2009.
Late in 2015, a jury awarded nearly two million dollars to a woman who suffered burns on various parts of her body, as a result of an e-cigarette’s battery explosion.
Dangers of Overcharging Battery
As a portable electronic device, a typical e-cigarette relies on lithium ion batteries for its use. Lithium ion batteries are favored for their light weight and long battery life, but they contain liquid electrolytes that can explode when subjected to excessive heat. Overheating can occur while charging a battery, particularly when the battery receives more current than its maximum allowable voltage.
Car chargers in particular may provide more voltage than a device’s battery can receive, posing risks of explosion while charging. This was the theory advanced by the plaintiff in a product liability lawsuit filed against the electronic cigarette’s distributor, wholesaler, and retailer that sold the victim the e-cigarette.
Plaintiff’s Severe Burns Linked to E-Cigarettes
In March 2013, the female plaintiff purchased an e-cigarette package containing an e-cigarette, a lithium ion battery and a battery charger. In her lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the e-cigarette’s packaging materials mentioned that the battery could be charged with a car charger but failed to state the risks of doing so.
The plaintiff plugged the device’s battery charger to her car charger but later noticed a burning smell coming out of the charger before it exploded, burning her lap with hot chemicals. The explosion also burned the woman’s dress and her car seat, resulting in second degree burns on her legs, buttocks, and hand.
In awarding for the plaintiff, the jury agreed with her that the e-cigarettes distributor and retailer distributed an unsafe product and failed to warn buyers of the known dangers associated with the product’s use.
If you or someone you know is injured while using or charging e-cigarettes, you can claim compensation from the businesses that supplied the defective product.
In Houston and throughout the state of Texas, the law firm of Charles J. Argento & Associates is dedicated to helping clients recover from injuries caused by the negligence of other parties. Our firm has 30 years of proven experience in personal injury cases such as product liability, auto accidents, and other types of injury claims.
We invite you to discuss your situation with one of our friendly attorneys at (713) 225-5050, to obtain a free case evaluation.