An e-cigarette exploded in the face of a 24-year-old Fort Worth man who was trying out vaping for the first time at a Keller shop, according to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
William Brown had just purchased the device, which is popular as a method to quit smoking, and sat in his grandmother’s car to try it out. After the explosion, he crawled from the car to the trunk area before collapsing on the pavement.
He died two days later from a penetrating trauma caused by parts of the e-cig severing his left carotid artery, according to the article. The explosion caused him to suffer a stroke and eventually bleeding in his brain.
“It just hurts so bad,” said Alice Brown, William’s grandmother who he lived with, to the Star-Telegram. Williams birthday is in two weeks. “Now he’ll never see that birthday. It’s a waste of the things he could have accomplished.”
Alice Brown told the paper that investigators were interested in the e-cigarette’s battery.
“That’s the important part,” she said to the Star-T. “That’s what the investigator said he needed. ... I just hope, if anything, I hope it stops someone from (smoking electronic cigarettes). I don’t know how many more people will have to die.”
Not the first death
An e-cigarette, also known as an electronic cigarette, contains a lithium-ion battery that heats a liquid, turning it into vapor. They’ve risen in popularity since hitting the U.S. market in 2007.
Reports of injuries and death are becoming more common. Last year, a 38-year-old Florida man died after an e-cigarette explosion caused facial injuries and burns to about 80 percent of his body. Other people have had the batteries explode in their pocket after contacting metal and shorting out the battery.
Between January 2009 and December 2016, 195 explosions and fires have occurred, according to a report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Common injuries include:
- Loss of eyes or teeth
- Severe heat and chemical burns that can require skin grafts
- Facial injuries, such as damage to the jaw
- Potential brain damage
- Bone and skin loss
- Smoke inhalation
And lawsuits have started to follow the injuries.
People choosing to sue after an injury or death from an e-cigarette may be able to collect compensation for their injuries, medical debt, and pain and suffering under Texas product liability laws, many personal injury lawyers will tell you. But it is extremely difficult, time-consuming and costly to pursue a product liability case.
The manufactures will push the idea that the person using the device was using it incorrectly or not following safety standards. For instance, it has been argued that some of the fires start because a random charger was used to charge the e-cig instead of the specific charger for that device.
While consumer batteries are tested that testing does not extend to requiring product safety testing for products containing a battery. Therefore, few safety standards exist for vaping devices.
This can make it difficult to pursue a claim of negligence, which requires the facts to clearly demonstrate a failure of the manufacturer to perform up to acceptable standards. Unlike other types of negligence cases, pursuing a product liability case usually requires filing suit, expensive expert witnesses and an even longer litigation process.
If you want to pursue a lawsuit against an e-cigarette case, Parker Law Firm will help you understand the process and connect you with an attorney who takes these types of cases.
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At Parker Law Firm, our experienced car accident lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.