E-cigarette Explosion Lawyer | Vape Injury Lawsuit
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Vaping is growing in both industry and popularity. The devices are particularly popular among groups of people trying to quit smoking traditional cigarettes, teens and young adults. However, what these groups may not realize is that e-cigarettes might be just as dangerous as traditional cigarettes. In addition to loose regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the devices are known to explode and severely injure users. Additionally, vaping has been linked to a serious lung disease that has led to five deaths across the United States. Hundreds of people have fallen ill with vaping lung disease and thousands have been injured by vape pen explosions. If you have suffered after a vape injury after an explosion or lung disease, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have a Vaping Injury Attorney ready to assist you in your recovery.
While vaping lung diseases and vaping explosions are new and unique hazards, defending clients with personal injuries caused by defective products is not new to The Carlson Law Firm. With more than 40 years of experience assisting victims of personal injury, our firm is ready to work tirelessly on your behalf to get the recovery you deserve. We have the necessary resources to go up against the tobacco industry. Our compassionate e-Cigarette Explosion Attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve for medical bills, loss of income and other damages you may have suffered as a result of a vape explosion or vaping lung disease.
What is Vaping?
Vaping refers to the inhaling and exhaling of aerosols through using battery-powered devices such as e-cigarettes, mod, Juuls, and e-pens. While some use the tools for illegal drug use, vape pens, or e-cigarette as they are commonly known, 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.
What is the Difference Between E-Cigarettes and Vaporizers?
Electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS) include electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers. The prevalence of ENDS use is increasing among current, former and never smokers. Although the purpose of these devices is similar, they have very designs in both their look and delivery methods.
E-cigarettes are very similar to the size, shape, and weight of traditional cigarettes. They often contain three parts: the batter, the cartomizer, a combination of the cartridge and atomizer, and silicone mouthpiece. These devices will typically include a glowing orange tip when the user takes a puff of the device. The tip purposely resembles the tip of a burning cigarette to give users the idea that they are smoking a traditional cigarette. These devices were started back in 2003 by Chinese Pharmacist Hon Lik. Lik’s idea as the create a nicotine delivery device that produced inhalable and flavored smoke-like vapor.
Hon Lik’s invention was just the beginning of the vaping craze. Personal vaporizers came a few years after Lik’s device hit the U.S. market in 2007. However, vaporizers grew in popular almost instantly. Instead of looking like cigarettes, vaporizers look more like large fountain pens—hence the name vape pen. The devices are far more advanced than their e-cigarette counterparts. Vape pens offer users a choice of flavors, tastes and e-liquid supplies along with increased customization. They’re often refillable.
Diagram: Vape Pen vs. E-Cigarette
A vape injury occurs when the battery in an electronic nicotine-delivery system (ENDS) fails. Contact an e-cigarette explosion attorney to schedule a free consultation.
What causes e-cigarette explosions?
A vape injury or e-cig explosion occurs because lithium-ion batteries behave like “flaming rockets” when the battery fails. Experts say that the shape and construction of e-cigarettes make them more likely to explode and lead to severe injuries. While lithium-ion batteries are generally safe, because of the types they’re used in they can cause extremely severe injuries. For example, cell phones, laptops, and e-cigarettes all contain rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. People use these devices with or near critical parts of their body including fingers, ears, and legs. E-cigarettes and cellphones can explode in your pockets which can lead to first, second and third degree burns on your legs and torso from the fire that erupts.
What’s inside of a lithium-ion battery?
There are two electrodes inside of every lithium-ion battery. One electrode is positively charged (cathode) while the other is negatively charged (anode). The cathode and anode electrodes are separated by a sheet microperforated plastic. The sheet keeps the electrodes from touching. When you charge your device, the lithium ions are pushed by electricity from the cathode, through both the microperforation in the separator and an electrically conductive fluid and into the anode. This process reverses when a battery begins losing power—lithium ions flow from the anode to the cathode.
Small batteries like those found in e-cigarettes usually have only a single lithium-ion cell. However, larger batteries found in laptops have between six and 12 lithium-ion cells. On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries on airplanes may have hundreds of cells.
What makes lithium-ion batteries explode?
Lithium is a fantastic force for storing energy. However, the thing that makes these batteries so useful is also what gives them the ability to explode or catch fire. When released as a trickle, lithium can power your phone, cell phone or e-cigarette all day. But when released all at once, the battery can explode.
Most e-cigarette explosions are the result of short-circuiting in the device’s battery. This usually occurs when the plastic separator fails and lets the anode and cathode touch. Once these electrodes touch, the battery begins to overheat. Further, the solutions inside lithium-ion batteries are different from those in a regular battery because they are flammable.
What causes lithium-ion batteries to fail?
Vaporizers explode because the battery of the product unexpectedly overheats. Consumers can face a severe vape injury as a result of these explosions. At a certain level of heat, a flammable portion of the battery can ignite, causing a chain reaction inside the battery that produces a large amount of heat very quickly, also known as an explosion. There are several other reasons that the separator in a lithium-ion battery can fail. Those reasons include:
Bad Design or Manufacturing Defects
A faulty battery design can lead to an explosion. In poorly designed batteries the battery can expand a little as it charges. When a battery expands as its charged, electrodes bend and cause a short circuit. However, even a well-designed battery can fail if quality control isn’t kept tight or there’s some sort of defect in manufacturing.
Extreme heat is a guaranteed factor in an e-cigarette explosion. Batteries too close to heat source have been known to explode. There are other factors that can cause a lithium-ion battery. For example, dropping your phone too hard, or too many times, there is a chance you’ll damage the separator and cause the electrodes to touch. Another example is if you pierce the battery, by accident or purposely, then your device’s battery will almost certainly cause a short circuit.
Problems with Your Charger
A poorly insulated charger can also lead to an explosion. When a charger short circuits or generates too much heat near the battery, it can do enough damage to cause failure. Lithium-ion batteries do have built-in protections to stop them from overcharging. However rare, these safety precautions do fail. Leaving a device on a charger too long is often a good way to overheat a battery.
Thermal Runaway and Multiple Cells
These malfunctions aren’t usually relevant to the lithium-ion batteries in e-cigarettes or vape pens. However, in devices powered by lithium-ion batteries with multiple cells only one cell needs to fail for the whole battery to explode.
If you or a loved one suffered extensive injuries because of a faulty lithium-ion battery, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have the skill and the resources needed to successfully get the recovery you deserve. An e-cigarette explosion attorney from The Carlson Law Firm is ready to sit down and discuss your vape injury case. Call us today to set up a free consultation.
E-cigarette Explosion and Vape Injury
While the health effects of vaping versus smoking are still being debated, other types of vape injuries are occurring. As noted above, vaping devices are powered by lithium-ion batteries. The safety record of lithium-ion batteries has been questionable for a while now. The batteries have been associated with laptop fires, hoverboard fires, and cellphone explosions. If you have suffered injuries a result of an e-cig explosion, contact an e-cigarette explosion attorney to discuss your case. The Carlson Law Firm offers free consultations and we work on a contingency fee basis.
As mentioned above, lithium-ion batteries are made with alternating layers of metallic anode and cathode material separated by a porous film. The film holds a liquid electrolyte which is flammable. If the lithium-ion battery overheats, the flammable electrolyte can explode.
“Most e-cigarettes and vape devices are powered by a lithium-ion battery,” said Carlson Law Firm partner, Steve Dummit. “Further, these batteries and devices are manufactured in China with substandard quality controls and can often be counterfeit.”
Phones, hoverboards, cameras and even hybrid cars contain lithium-ion batteries. When these batteries short-circuit, they lead to explosions that cause several types of injuries.
“Often, our clients have suffered serious burn injuries to their face, hands, and legs with some clients also requiring significant dental reconstruction,” Dummitt said.
While these explosions are rare, they are extremely dangerous. In fact, these explosions are so dangerous that it prompted the U.S. Fire Administration to release a report titled, Electronic Cigarette Fires and Explosions in the United States 2009-2016.
What are the most common e-cig explosion injuries?
Patients treated for vape injuries mostly present injuries to the face, hands, thigh or groin. These injuries often have substantial implications for cosmetic and limited mobility. Blast injuries may lead to tooth loss, traumatic tattooing and extensive loss of soft tissue. Many of these victims require operative debridement and closure of tissue defects. In fact, burn injuries may require extensive wound care and skin grafting. Victims of e-cigarette explosions may even have chemical burns released from the battery explosion. When treating patients for vape injury or e-cigarette explosion injuries, the most common injuries doctors see include:
- 80 percent of patients suffer from flame burns
- 33 percent of patients suffer from chemical burns
- 27 percent of patients suffer from blast injuries
Who is Using Vape Devices?
Anyone who uses vape devices that contains a lithium battery is at risk for explosion injuries? Unfortunately, research shows that young people are far more likely to use vape and e-cig devices. Monitoring the Future, an organization that studies trends of legal and illicit drug use among U.S. adolescents and adults, began surveying the emerging trends on e-cigarettes in 2011. The organization’s initial research found that the use of e-cigarettes grew rapidly from 2011 to 2015, becoming the most universal form of adolescent substance use. In fact, youth are more likely than adults to use e-cigarettes.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of adults who use e-cigarettes were regular smokers of traditional cigarettes. Nearly 30 percent were former regular cigarette smokes and 11 percent had never been regular cigarette smokers.
Vaping Lung Disease
In the summer of 2019, hundreds of people across at least 33 states have fallen ill with a mysterious lung disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are currently investigating more than 450 cases of the potentially life-threatening disease linked to vaping. The agency says that the disease is not contagious but instead believes that the disease is the result of chemicals used in e-cigarettes, or vaping devices. However, they have yet to identify the specific substance linked to the illness. At least five people from five different states have died from the unknown respiratory illness. Cases of the disease have been reported in the following states:
- North Carolina
- New England
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Which devices are linked to vaping pulmonary disease?
The CDC has warned there are no consistent e-cigarette products that have been linked to the disease. Users have reported falling ill after using both marijuana and nicotine products. The agency is still unclear about what is causing the illness and is testing for a broad range of chemicals.
What could potentially be the cause of vaping lung disease?
On September 6, 2019, the University of Utah released a press release explaining that doctors identified a potential cause for the illness. Patients have large immune cells containing numerous oily droplets called lipid-laden macrophages.
Further, New York state and FDA labs told officials that they found vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E in marijuana vaping products. Vitamin E is a sticky and oily substance that needs to be heated to extreme heat in order to be vaporized. According to experts, when a person inhales the substance into their lungs, the temperature of their lungs is lower than the temperature needed to keep it a vapor. As a result, the substance returns to its oily state and sits in the lungs. This leads to the shortness of breath, lung damage and respiratory illness seen in patients. While vitamin E has become the focus of the state of New York’s investigation, FDA officials stress that no one substance has been linked to the growing number of illnesses.
What are the symptoms related to vaping lung disease?
Most instances of the disease have been seen in teenagers and young adults—because they are more likely to use vaping devices. The vaping lung illness can look like viral or bacterial pneumonia, but those tests come back negative. Patients with vaping lung injury report the following symptoms:
- dry cough
- check pain
- shortness of breath
- abdominal pain
- body aches
- night sweats
It is important to note, that because of their relative newness, the full effects of e-cigarettes and vaping devices is largely unknown. These devices are largely unregulated, including the substances used in them. In fact, until mid-2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not regulate e-cigarettes or vaping devices. Nor were they subject to age requirements under the Tobacco Control Act of 2009. While the ingredients used may be FDA approved for food products, but whether or not they are safe for inhalation has not been investigated.
How A Vaping Injury Attorney Help
Even though the FDA has loose regulations on the e-cigarette and vape industry, there are many laws and regulations in place for how products should work and fulfill expectations. If the product does not work as advertised but instead causes injury or even wrongful death, our firm can provide assistance as soon as you contact our office. We have substantial experience with product liability cases, which is the liability of distributors, suppliers, and manufacturers for defective products.
A vape injury or e-cigarette explosion injury can leave you with debilitating injuries and several thousands of dollars in medical debt. A consumer who is unfortunate enough to be the user of a defective product should not have to face medical bills alone. An e-cigarette explosion attorney from The Carlson Law Firm can prove liability with the assistance of one of our personal investigators. There is no other place you need to go to get the representation you deserve.
Product liability is often difficult to determine because it is hard to figure out who is truly at fault. Manufacturers are liable for design defects and other preventable situations. An e-cig explosion attorney from The Carlson Law Firm will thoroughly investigate your case to prove manufacturers fault.
Contact A Vaping Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one is living a vape injury or an e-cigarette explosion injury, contact a Carlson Law Firm. An e-cigarette explosion attorney from our firm can help you navigate the American legal system to get the kind of recovery you deserve. You do not have to face your injuries alone. Contact our firm at your earliest convenience to handle your situation with one of our firm’s resources. We are available to you 24/7.