The use of e-cigarettes and vape pens is on the rise. But, questions have also recently been raised about how safe these devices really are—and not just related to nicotine consumption. Reports of e-cigarettes exploding have become more common and they’ve grabbed headlines for a reason. These incidents can be dangerous, even deadly. And in many cases the manufacturer may be liable. If you or a loved one has been harmed by an explosion caused by one of these devices, you need to talk to an e-cigarette and vape explosion lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible.
John Foy & Associates has over 20 years of experience dealing with product liability claims like these. When dangerous products harm people, we want to be your go-to law firm to help assert your rights. After an explosion, you likely have medical expenses, property damage, and other issues that need to be addressed. We can use our experienced and compassionate legal team to fight the manufacturer on your behalf. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
Why do e-cigarettes and vapes explode?
It helps to understand how your e-cig works. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that produce a heated vapor that resembles smoke. They’re basically an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.
These devices require an electronic heating element known as either an atomizer or cartomizer. The heating element is what vaporizes the liquid solution, or juice. Each device also has a battery, microprocessor, and possibly even have lights to simulate the glow of a burning cigarette. These electronics are the source of the explosion risk—and they’re essential to how the vape pen works.
“Automatic” vape pens will turn on when the user sucks in (or takes a drag) on the device, while other versions have a manual on-off switch to start the heating element. Most devices have a time out feature to shut off the heating element. Other protections are also available so that the heat is not triggered in your pocket or purse.
Ultimately, the source of the danger in these devices is the battery. The lithium-ion batteries used in these devices can malfunction and become very dangerous. Essentially, the battery will short circuit, causing a significant increase in temperature. The combination of the temperature increase and a heating element can be deadly.
Although lithium-ion batteries are used in other products, the threat is unique for e-cigarettes and vapes because of the very close proximity to the body when an explosion occurs. The danger is similar to mobile phones but appears to be happening with more frequency, potentially because of the presence of the heating element to create the vapor.
How do I recognize an e-cig explosion?
The explosion usually involves a sudden increase in heat and all or some of the following:
- Loud noise
- Flash of light
- Ejection of the battery or other parts from the device
Some explosions have a loud bang, but not all. If your e-cig gets hot and starts emitting actual smoke rather than just vape, or won’t cool down when you turn it off, the battery probably exploded. The same is true if it seems to have swelled up and the electronics have burst out.
While some e-cig explosions are harmless, many cause serious burns. The explosion can also catch other things on fire, or injure the user by launching components out of the device.
How often do e-cigarettes and vapes explode in the United States?
The U.S. Fire Administration did a study in July 2017 that examined e-cigarette and vape fire incidents from 2009 to 2016. That study indicated that there were 195 fire or explosion incidents reported during that period. These incidents caused 133 injuries.
Most explosions occurred while the e-cigarette or vape was in a user’s pocket, but almost as many incidents happened when the device was in use—potentially near the face. Other locations included:
- While the battery was being charged
- When the device was in storage
- While the e-cigarette was being transported
The majority of the explosions also resulted in minor fires that involved nearby carpets, clothing, drapes, and bedding, including a number of major fires, where part or all of a building was damaged and required a visit from the fire department.
There were no deaths reported in the study. But, in May 2018, an exploding vape killed a Florida man. The man suffered burns on roughly 80 percent of his body. He ultimately died from a “projectile wound to the head.” The company involved in that incident, Smoke-E Mountain Mech Works, is blaming the battery instead of its unique e-cig design called a “mechanical mod.” This type of design doesn’t use an inner circuitry system to regulate the voltage. It gives users more direct access to the device’s battery. Since manufacturer designs like this could potentially impact the explosion risk, legal liability can involve both the manufacturer of the vape and the battery developer.
Why is the manufacturer legally responsible for damages after an explosion?
The number of e-cigarette or vape incidents in the U.S. is increasing over time, likely because more people are using the devices. It may also be the result of more manufacturers creating these devices, and many of them using different designs. Many manufacturers are trying to develop lower-priced models. That raises the question of whether any companies are cutting corners on safety.
But the bottom line is simple:
If a manufacturer creates a defective product, whether because of its the design or how it was manufactured, they are responsible for the damage it causes.
In this type of lawsuit, you, or your lawyer, must show:
- The company involved actually manufactured or designed the product,
- The product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s facility, and
- Its defect is what caused your injuries and losses
You do not need to show that the manufacturer was negligent or careless in creating the product—the fact that the e-cigarette or vape exploded is enough to prove that something was seriously wrong with the product.
Victims injured by vape pens may be able to recover money for medical costs, missed work, property damage, all long-term recuperation costs related to the injury, and money for pain, suffering and other personal losses. It is possible for a defective product case to bring a settlement of a million dollars or more.
Talk to an E-Cigarette & Vape Explosion Lawsuit Lawyer for Free
You have legal options after an e-cigarette or vape explosion. Don’t just assume it was bad luck and move on—you could be missing out on a substantial amount of money. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.