Up in Vapor: The Anatomy of E-Cigarette Explosion Cases

Q: Who is responsible for my e-cigarette injuries?

You are probably aware of the wildly popular e-cigarette- a mechanical, copy-cat cigarette-style device originally marketed to help smokers kick the nicotine habit. E-cigarettes mimic the smoking experience as users inhale a fluid-based vapor from the plastic or metal device shaped like a cigarette.

In order to produce the “smoky” vapor, e-cigarettes use a lithium ion battery and heating element to bring the fluid to vaporization. The problem is, the batteries can overheat causing a chain reaction that leads to an explosion–sending pieces of shrapnel into the faces, mouths, necks, arms, and hands of users or outward to injure others. There are several reasons the battery may overheat, such as a short circuit due to a manufacturing defect or external damage, such as a punctured cell.

If you are injured by an e-cigarette, you might experience devastating injuries that span a wide spectrum and include torn flash, broken teeth, caustic burns, thermal burns, and severed or mangled digits.

The lithium ion batteries release hydrofluoric acid that gets absorbed into the skin and can cause devastating injuries that are not always immediately apparent, including caustic burns.  “Tissue toxicity, severe pain, and calcium chemical changes that could cause a heart attack” may also occur, in addition to the more well-known first, second, and third degree thermal burns which continue to burn the skin after the flame is put out. Because many of these unique injuries are not immediately apparent and worsen over time, you should always seek immediate medical attention whenever injured by an e-cigarette.

What kind of damages can you recover and who is responsible for your injuries?

In an e-cigarette explosion lawsuit, the person or company responsible for the manufacture or distribution of the dangerous and defective product is responsible. In each case, an investigation is necessary beginning at the point of purchase, usually in the United States and tracing backwards to the place of original distribution and manufacture which may be a foreign country, such as China. A defective products attorney will be able to evaluate your claim and help identify the responsible party for your injuries.

Compensatory damages in a personal injury action differ in each case but may include such things as the medical costs associated with the injury, anticipated future medical costs for therapy or additional treatment or surgery related to the injury, property