There has been a wave of lawsuits filed over the last several years for melting and exploding products. These consumer goods either randomly explode or catch fire due to defect issues with the product. These incidents cause serious injury and harm to both innocent people and property.
The most notable melting exploding products in recent years include:
- Microwave ovens
- Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
- Cellular phones
- Laptop computers
- Power pressure cookers
- Vape explosions
- USB cords
Poor design and inferior components and parts are the primary causes of exploding products. For some products, like laptop computers and cell phones, it is defective batteries that can cause them to catch fire or explode. Smaller products require smaller batteries and when the casing is made too small for the battery, an explosion or fire can be the result.
Product liability lawsuits have been filed across the United States by victims of exploding consumer products. These lawsuits seek recoverable damages from the victims often burned by the product. Damages can range from small contact burns to severe third-degree burns on the whole body.
In most states, there are specific things needed to prove and win a product liability lawsuit. First, it must be established that the product was defectively manufactured or designed. Many states require expert testimony to show there was a feasible alternative design. Manufacturing defects can sometimes be clear, but often an engineer or product designer is needed to support this claim.
Second, it must be shown that the defect in design or manufacturing caused the product to explode. Manufacturers often deny this claim and argue that the incident was caused by the misuse of the product or an alteration of the product prior to the incident. Evidence obtained during the course of the suit is crucial to proving this part of the case.
Finally, it must be proven that the product defect was the cause of the injury to person or property. Again, the defendant will argue that some other factor or product was the culprit. Medical testimony can be used to establish both the cause of the injury and the serious nature of the condition.
The type of compensation available to the injured person can vary from state to state but generally includes both economic damages and non-economic damages. The injured person can be awarded both types of damages but it depends on the proof established by the plaintiff. In some states, a jury can award punitive damages to punish the defendant for their conduct.
Economic damages are payments for financial losses. This includes medical bills and expenses, past, present, and future. Quite often, a health insurer may place a lien on the lawsuit and demand repayment from any settlement. Other economic damages include wage loss and the loss of future earnings. An economist or vocational rehabilitation expert are helpful in proving these amounts.
Non-economic losses are recoverable damages for things non-monetary in nature. This includes physical pain and suffering, fright and shock, mental anguish, and others. Psychological injuries, like PTSD, qualify as non-economic damages. Compensation is also available for scars and disfigurements.
It is important for anyone considering filing an exploding product claim to make every effort to keep and preserve the product, even if it is burned or looks destroyed. Also, photographs and videos of the item can be essential in proving a claim. Finally, receipts and credit card statements verifying the purchase provide strong evidence to support a possible claim against the seller or retailer that sold the product.