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E-Cigarette Liability Case Brought by Burn Victim in Late June

close up portrait of a man smoking an e-cigaretteAn Illinois couple recently filed a claim against e-cigarette battery manufacturer LG and two vape stores in their state, alleging product liability. LG makes a lithium-ion battery that exploded in the pants pocket of Scott Schroeck in mid-June, causing second and third degree burns. Mr. Schroeck and his wife Denise are charging both the manufacturer of the battery and the retailers, Rockin Vape and Tobacco Zone, with failure to give adequate warnings about the danger of exploding e-cigarettes. The stores are both located in Joliet, Illinois.

The claim states that Scott Schroeck’s burns have cost $200,000 in medical charges so far. Denise Schroeck alleges negative effects on the marriage from the injuries.

Batteries in e-cigarettes are flammable

The chemicals used in lithium ion batteries are known to be extremely flammable. They are safe if manufactured and processed correctly when placed in the device, and if the device is designed properly.

Unfortunately, however, manufacture, integration, and design is far from perfect. The batteries can short circuit or catch on fire as a result of “thermal runaway,” a chemical reaction that causes the battery to catch on fire. Both these accidents, in turn, can be caused by battery damage, too rapid recharge, extreme temperatures, the juxtaposition of other metal material, or using chargers from the aftermarket.

Scott Schroeck has indicated that he had two batteries in his pocket when one caught on fire.

Injuries from e-cig explosions and fires rising

The number of injuries from exploding e-cigarettes and their batteries has been rising for several years. In 2015, the American Burn Association noted several hundred injuries from e-cigarettes that year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes that the injury rate from exploding e-cigarettes is underreported. The agency believes that explosions may occur when no one is injured, and thus not inclined to report the incident. In addition, news reports cause the number of reports to rise, indicating a number not reported without the impetus of a recent similar event.

Another U.S. agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, indicates that more than 80 emergency events have been reported in the past four years from accidents related to lithium battery powered items. The events have ranged from unplanned landings to fires igniting in mid-flight.

The risks have caused some lithium powered devices, including e-cigarettes, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, and hover boards, to be banned or restricted by the FAA.

Last year, all forms of electronic smoking products were banned from flights and checked baggage by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA). These products include e-cigarettes and vape pens.

Do you need an attorney?

The increasingly clear dangers posed by e-cigarettes, vape pens, and lithium-powered batteries can no longer be ignored. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or died as a result of an accident caused by one of these products, attorneys from Edelman, Krasin & Jaye can help. We are seasoned personal injury attorneys who will fight for justice. Compensation from a New York e-cigarette lawsuit can cover medical bills, lost wages, retraining, and emotional loss or harm.

Call us today for a free initial consultation at 1-800-469-7429. We can meet you in New York City or Long Island at your convenience.

Additional “e-cigarette burn injury” resources:

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Vaporizers, E-Cigarettes, and Other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). https://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/ProductsIngredientsComponents/ucm456610.htm