Defective e-cigarettes could spawn product liability suits

The recent popularity of e-cigarettes in Ohio -- an electronic alternative to traditional cigarettes -- is hard to deny, but the dangers associated with these products have yet to be made entirely clear. While consumers have the right to expect new products to be safe when hitting the market, this is not always the case. All too often, hazardous or toxic materials are discovered to be lurking in consumer products on a seemingly regular basis. However, when it comes to new products, who should be held responsible in a product liability suit is not always easy to pin down.

Take, for example, the case of a man who was offered the chance to try out a friend's e-cigarette. As he brought the small device to his lips and used it, it erupted and produced a fireball. The man suffered severe burns to his face and, as a result, is now saddled with exceptionally large medical bills and a less than optimistic prognosis for continued healing.

Far from being an isolated event, it appears that combustion is well within the realm of possibilities when it comes to an e-cigarette malfunctioning. The device runs off of a lithium battery, but it must reach exceptionally high temperatures in order to accurately mimic a traditional cigarette. Multiple users have reported that their device overheated or that liquid leaked into the battery compartment and then combusted, causing various serious injuries.

Defective products can be due to design flaws or manufacturing mistakes. Accidents and injuries caused as a result of either can typically be compensated through the successful litigation of a product liability suit. In some instances in Ohio, this type of claim is filed against the manufacturer as well as parent companies, distributors or even the store where the product was sold.

Source: sfexaminer.com, "Who's liable for e-cigarette injury?", Christopher B. Dolan, Dec. 10, 2015

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