pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Explosion Injury Attorneys in Denver

Electric pressure cookers are hot kitchen items today. Consumers across the country have been drawn to these appliances, which use steam pressure to cook food faster while also keeping it tender. In fact, the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker has grown so popular that, according to Slate, it has inspired “an entire economy and a religion.”

However, popularity and safety are two different things. Many consumers who have excitedly plugged in electric pressure cookers have ended up suffering severe burns and other horrific injuries due to explosions involving these appliances. In many cases, the cooker’s lid has become unlocked before the steam pressure reached a safe level, or the pot has exploded when a consumer opened it according to directions.

If you or a loved one has suffered burns or other harm from due to a pressure cooker explosion, The Sawaya Law Firm wants to help you. Our product liability attorneys have a history of consumer protection which goes back more than 40 years. We can put our experience and resources to work for you today. Call or reach us online now to discuss your case in a free consultation.

What Are the Dangers of Electric Pressure Cookers?

People like electric pressure cookers because they can use them to cook food fast and in a way that preserves the food’s moisture and nutrients. Many people use the cookers for items such as soup, rice, beans and roasts. However, the same steam pressure system which draws customers to pressure cookers can also make them potentially dangerous products.

Even when people follow directions, these pressure cookers can explode. In some cases, the lid becomes unlocked before all of the pressure inside of the device has been released. In many other instances, pressure builds up in the cooker without release due to a defective valve, which can result in an explosion when a consumer opens the lid. An explosion may happen even if a consumer follows directions which come with the appliance.

Many people have suffered burn injuries to all areas of their body due to exposure to scalding hot food and liquid. They have been left with significant scarring, disfigurement and/or loss of use of certain body parts. These injured consumers and their families deserve justice.

What Causes a Pressure Cooker Explosion?

A pressure cooker is basically a big pot with a sealed, lockable lid and a valve that controls steam pressure inside of the pot. As heat increases, pressure increases inside of the pot. As Modernist Cuisine describes, the high-pressure steam:

  • Steam over cooking pot on a red background.Raises the boiling point of water in the pot which, in turn, allows food to cook faster
  • Forces liquid into the food, allowing it to remain tender.

The lid on an electrical pressure cooker should stay shut until the pressure inside has reached a safe enough level. However, in some cases, the lid may prematurely come off, or it may unlock before the pressure level is safe. In some cases, a defective valve may fail to release pressure. The explosion that follows can cause devastating harm to anyone near the pressure cooker. It can also damage kitchen property.

Common Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Injuries

According to a local CBS News report, one couple in Florida bought a Tristar Products Power Pressure Cooker XL, set it up in their kitchen and tried to cook soup in it. However, when the husband went to open the pot, the lid blew off. He suffered second-degree burns to his arms, elbows and fingers, while his wife sustained a burnt and swollen hand. Unfortunately, many people have suffered similar injuries in pressure cooker accidents.

Among the most common injuries that occur in electric pressure cooker explosions are:

  • Burns – Many consumers suffer burns to all parts of their body, including the face, arms, hands and chest areas. The burns can range from minor first-degree burns to third-degree burns that result in permanent nerve and tissue damage. The burns may occur from direct exposure to steam or from getting hit by boiling-hot liquid and food. Many burn victims suffer complications such as infections.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement – A severe burn can leave a permanent scar. Many victims must undergo procedures such as skin graft surgery.
  • Eye Injuries – A pressure cooker explosion may knock parts loose and cause fragments to fly into a consumer’s eyes. Many victims also suffer cuts and lacerations from flying debris.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury – An explosion may cause a consumer to suffer a concussion or a more severe form of TBI. The consumer may be knocked backwards and hit his or her head on an object or the ground, or the explosion may cause a sudden, violent shaking motion that causes brain damage.

The injuries that people suffer in pressure cooker explosions can be highly painful and may require extensive medical treatment. A person with second- or third-degree burns, for instance, may need to undergo skin graft procedures or plastic surgery as well as require ongoing therapy and rehabilitation. Victims may also be unable to work due to their injuries.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Injury

Through innovative marketing, including use of social media, Instant Pot has become one of the country’s top-selling kitchen appliance brands. The Canadian manufacturer of Instant Pot produces multi-cookers such as the Duo 7-in-1 and Duo Plus 9-in-1 models, which include a pressure cooker as one of its options. These cookers have many safety features. Still, explosions can still occur.

Steam escaping from lid of pressure cooker with reflection of modern kitchen.For example, a local ABC News affiliate reported in March 2018 about one Instant Pot user in Texas who suffered serious burn injuries to her neck and arms after her appliance exploded. According to the report, the woman had owned the pot for nearly a year. When it released steam, she would throw a towel over the top of it. However, when she did that on one occasion, the pot exploded, sending soup “several feet from the cooker.”

What Pressure Cookers Have Been Recalled?

Many different pressure cookers and “multi-cookers” have been recalled in recent years due to potentially dangerous defects. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, those recalls include:

  • Rena Ware Nutrex Pressure Cookers (August 2, 2018) – Due to discharge of steam at lower pressures than intended, posing a burn hazard.
  • Double Insight Instant Pot Multicookers (March 1, 2018) – Due to a defect that caused the cooker to overheat and melt on the underside, creating a fire risk. Walmart exclusively sold the product.
  • Double Insight Instant Pot Pressure Cookers (July 15, 2015) – Due to a thermal probe in the base which could conduct electricity throughout the cooker.
  • Breville Pressure Cookers (December 22, 2015) – Due to a sealing gasket which could be incorrectly inserted upside down on the lid, allowing an unexpected release of built-up steam pressure and posing a burn hazard.

Even though a product has not been recalled, it does not mean that the product is safe as designed and/or manufactured, or that the product has come with adequate warnings and instructions. For instance, you can find reports about a wide range of pressure cookers and multicookers in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s database.

What Should I Do If I Was Injured By My Pressure Cooker?

If you suffered injuries while using a pressure cooker or multicooker that you had purchased, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. You should consult with an experienced product liability attorney as early as possible in order to learn about your rights and options. As you prepare to meet with a lawyer, you should try to take these steps:

  1. See a doctor. You should make sure that you are fully checked for injuries. You should also follow your doctor’s treatment plan and make all of your follow-up visits.
  2. Save the appliance. You should keep the pressure cooker or multicooker involved in your incident. You should also collect and hold on to any parts that broke loose in the explosion. Also, if you still have it, keep the box and instructions.
  3. File a report. You can help the Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify and address problems with unsafe pressure cookers by filing a report through the portal. It typically takes between five and 10 minutes to fill out the electronic form.
  4. Keep everything. You should keep copies of all documents related to your pressure cooker explosion, including medical bills, kitchen repair bills, work records and any letters or e-mails that you have received from the manufacturer and/or seller of the product. You should also keep photos of your injuries and/or the cooker and the names and numbers of eyewitnesses.

Do I Have a Pressure Cooker Explosion Lawsuit?

Did you suffer burns or other severe injuries as the result of a pressure cooker or multicooker explosion? If so, our product liability lawyers can conduct a thorough, independent investigation of your incident, calculate your damages and help you to explore all of your legal options. We are currently reviewing pressure cooker explosions involving a wide range of appliances, including TriStar power pressure cooker, Instant Pot, Breville, Nutrex and others. Call The Sawaya Law Firm or reach us online now for a free case review.