Denver E-Cigarette Injury Lawyer
A growing number of people in Denver and Colorado use electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). Most people call these devices vape pens, vapes or e-cigarettes. They are becoming especially popular among young people. In fact, 27 percent of the middle and high school students who participated in the most recent Healthy Kids Colorado Survey said they used e-cigarettes – a rate that was roughly twice the national average reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite their popularity, many are concerned about the safety of these devices. Their unique shape, construction and the way they are powered by lithium-ion batteries presents a unique hazard to consumers. In fact, hundreds of consumers across the country have suffered serious burns and other injuries due to e-cigarette fires and explosions. Recently, a Florida man died from the injuries he suffered in a vape pen explosion, CNN reports.
If you recently suffered burns or other injuries due to an e-cigarette explosion, you should seek legal help right away. With a record of protecting consumers throughout Colorado that goes back more than 35 years, the product liability attorneys of The Sawaya Law Firm have the experience and resources you need. We will work hard to hold the manufacturer and seller of the defective e-cigarette accountable and aggressively pursue all compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
What Causes E-Cigarette Explosions?
Most of the e-cigarettes and vape pens sold in Colorado and across the country are cylindrical devices. They look like traditional cigarettes. The most popular brand, JUUL, resembles a computer jump drive. They are powered by lithium-ion batteries. The battery typically is placed in the opposite end from the mouthpiece.
Lithium-ion batteries are used to power many devices, including cell phones and laptops. When a user inhales with an e-cigarette, the battery powers an atomizer that heats the liquid in the device and creates a vapor.
However, if the battery in a vape pen fails, it can behave like a “flaming rocket” due to the pen’s shape, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). In turn, consumers can suffer life-changing burns and other injuries.
As the USFA describes, a lithium-ion (or “li-on”) battery contains three parts:
- Cathode (a positively charged electrode)
- Anode (a negatively charged electrode)
- A porous separator film made of a highly flammable and combustible liquid electrolyte, which keeps the two electrodes from touching.
If the lithium-ion battery in an e-cigarette suddenly overheats, the electrolyte can quickly ignite, and the battery can rupture. This reaction results in the fire or explosion that causes consumers to suffer injuries.
An e-cigarette battery can overheat for many different reasons. The vape pen may be left in the sun or near a heat source, for instance. A charger could also short circuit and cause a sudden burst of heat. However, the USFA indicates that the problem may simply be that lithium-ion batteries “are not a safe source of energy for these devices.”
In 2017, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) adopted standards for lithium-ion batteries that are used in vape pens. However, even if a vape pen has a UL sticker, it is no guarantee of safety. A vape pen battery can still fail due to a design or manufacturing defect.
What Are the Most Common Vape Pen Explosion Injuries?
Hundreds of consumers across the country have suffered injuries due to e-cigarette and vape pen fires and explosions. Many of those victims were teens. They may have been drawn to the device by edgy advertising, rumors that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco and the “fun” flavors of the vape liquids such as “Cinnatoast Munch” or “Ultra Magnetic Fruit Loop.”
The USFA reports that 195 reported e-cigarette explosions occurred in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016. Six of those incidents happened in Colorado. Among those victims:
- 38 suffered severe injuries requiring hospitalization such as third-degree burns, facial injuries or loss of a body part
- 80 suffered moderate injuries requiring emergency medical treatment such as second-degree burns, lacerations or smoke inhalation-related harm
- 15 suffered minor injuries such as first-degree burns, minor lacerations and smoke inhalation.
The nature and severity of injuries typically depends on the location of the device at the time of the battery failure and explosion. For instance, if a person was holding and using the e-cigarette when it exploded, the person could suffer vision loss, tooth loss, fractures and significant hand, arm, mouth, throat and facial burns from exposure to flames or chemicals. According to CNN, a Florida man died when his “mod” type e-cigarette exploded, and a section of the device flew into his head.
People can also suffer leg, groin and hip burns if an e-cigarette explodes while being stored in the person’s pocket – a highly common event, the USFA reports. An individual may also suffer burns and harm from smoke inhalation if an e-cigarette explosion causes clothes, bedding, carpeting or a vehicle seat to catch fire.
In addition to these physical injuries, many victims suffer mental harm from experiencing a traumatic event such as an e-cigarette explosion. For instance, a victim may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can be a debilitating condition.
What Should You Do If Your E-Cigarette Explodes?
If you suffered injury due to a vape battery explosion, you can take immediate steps to protect your health and your right to pursue a claim against the manufacturer and/or seller of the device. You should:
- Get medical attention. Your health should be your top priority. You should get immediate attention to any burns, fractures or mouth, tooth, throat or eye injuries you have suffered. As you move forward, you should follow your doctor’s treatment plan.
- Save the device. You should keep the e-cigarette, including any components that may have come loose when the explosion occurred. You can keep it in a bag or a box. If you still have it, you should also keep the packaging and instructions that came with the e-cigarette.
- Report the event to the FDA. Since 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated e-cigarettes just like it does with traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. You can file a report through the FDA’s Safety Reporting Portal. Your report can help the FDA to collect data, assess the problem and, hopefully, protect consumers in the future.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can launch a timely investigation of your e-cigarette fire and explosion and take many other immediate steps to protect your legal rights and help you through the aftermath of the incident. Because you have only a limited amount of time to file a product liability lawsuit, you should get help from a lawyer as early as possible.
How Can a Product Liability Lawyer Help You After an E-Cigarette Explosion?
As a consumer, you have the right to expect that you will be safe when you use a product such as an e-cigarette as it was intended to be used. You also have the right to expect that the product’s advertising, packaging and instructions will tell you how to properly use the product and warn you of any potential risks associated with it such as a battery explosion. However, due to a design defect, manufacturing defect or the lack of an adequate warning, you may now face serious harm.
The experienced product liability attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm know how e-cigarette fires and explosions can cause life-changing injuries. We realize how victims may face a great deal of pain, growing medical debt and a host of worries brought on by their inability to work and earn income. We want to help.
When you come to our law firm for assistance with your e-cigarette product liability claim, we will:
- Thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your injuries
- Carefully assess the harm you have suffered
- Aggressively pursue a claim on your behalf.
In an e-cigarette injury claim, you can be assured that The Sawaya Law Firm will demand accountability from all companies and individuals who are responsible for designing, manufacturing, marketing and distributing the defective product. Our goal will be to secure compensation that fully and fairly compensates you for all of the harm you have suffered, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and diminished future earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- All other out-of-pocket costs related to your injuries.
We represent victims of dangerous and defective products on a contingency fee basis. This means that you won’t pay us anything for our legal services upfront. We will collect an attorney’s fee when we recover money for you. The fee will typically be calculated based on an agreed-upon percentage of your recovery.
Our Denver Vape Pen Injury Attorneys Can Help You
If you recently suffered burns or other serious injuries due to a battery explosion in a vape pen or e-cigarette, The Sawaya Law Firm wants to hear your story. With a team of more than 20 personal injury attorneys and 80 staff members, we have the experience and resources it will take to pursue full and fair compensation for you. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation through our offices in Denver, Greeley or Colorado Springs.