If you were seriously burned by an exploding e-cigarette (also, personal vaporizer or “vape”), you may have a claim against the manufacturers of the vape device and battery, and possibly others. This means you can sue for money damages, which should include amounts for:
A vape (e-cigarette) is an electronic nicotine delivery system that produces a heated vapor, resembling smoke. They have been for sale in the United States since 2007. Now, more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. are using them.
The devices have a heating element used to vaporize a liquid solution, sometimes called “juice.” Some vapes activate the heating coil automatically when a user takes a drag from the device. Some are manual. Most manufactured devices have built-in timeout features that prevent overheating, and many have locking features to prevent the switch from being activated in a pocket or purse. The energy used to generate this heat is obtained from a battery, generally a cylindrical lithium-ion battery.
Lithium-ion batteries are made with alternating layers of metallic anode and cathode material separated by a porous film. The porous separator film holds a liquid electrolyte which is generally flammable or combustible. If the lithium-ion battery overheats, the flammable electrolyte may explode. Overheating can be caused by one of the following:
From 2009 to 2014, the U.S. Fire Administration found “25 reports [in the media] of explosion and fire involving an e-cigarettes. Nine injuries and no deaths were reported with these 25 incidents. Two of the injuries were serious burns” (1). We found several other reports of serious injury in 2015 and 2016 (see list below).
From CBS Local News (2):
Evan Spahliner, 21, was put into a medically-induced coma after his electronic cigarette exploded while he was smoking it.
“I found my brother not breathing with his whole face burned and his neck burned,” his sister, Jenny, told CBS2.
Jennifer Ries was also injured from an e-cigarette when it burst into flames as she was charging it in her car. Reis’ dress caught on fire, and she suffered burns on her thighs and buttocks.
“The battery started shooting fire toward me and then exploded and shot the metal pieces onto my lap,” Ries said.
Below is a list of some of the vape explosions in the United States that have caused serious injury. If you are aware of another incident or if you want a free case review, please contact our law firm at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or use our free case consultation form.
In October of 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued an interim final rule (IFR) to prohibit passengers and crewmembers from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g. e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) in checked baggage and prohibit passengers and crewmembers from charging the devices and/or batteries on board the aircraft.
“We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous. Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure” (13).