An off-duty emergency medical technician was severely burned after a pair of e-cigarette batteries exploded in his pants pocket. According to a report in the New York Daily News, 24-year-old Ricardo Jiminez suffered second-degree burns on his thigh and right hand on December 9, 2016 after he felt a searing heat in his jeans pocket while driving to see his barber. Jiminez said he reached into his pocket to take the batteries out when they blew up. He said there was “smoke everywhere” in his car “like a fog.” Jiminez said he had to put his car on park, jump out of the car and take off his pants.
He was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. He suffered severe scarring on his thigh and right hand. He can’t drive or work because of the pain, he said. Doctors are still evaluating if Jiminez needs skin grafts. Just last month, a 31-year-old man suffered burns on his hand and leg after a similar explosion where an e-cigarette detonated in his pants pocket. That dramatic incident where the e-cigarette batteries shot out of the man’s pockets like fireworks, was caught on a store surveillance camera.
More Explosions Reported
The number of e-cigarette explosions has increased just in the last year. Between 2009 and 2015, there were 134 reported cases of overheating, fires and explosions involving e-cigarettes, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since October 2015 alone, 21 e-cigarette victims were treated at the University of Washington Burn Center. So far, dozens of e-cigarette explosion lawsuits have been filed in California, New York and Florida.
Product Liability Issues
The culprits in these explosions are the lithium-ion batteries that power the e-cigarettes. Of course, these are the batteries that power many other devices we use on a daily basis such as laptops and cell phones. However, when these batteries are poorly made with substandard parts, they are more likely to fail or explode. In such cases, the manufacturers, distributors, retailers or other responsible parties can be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses these products cause.
Injured victims of e-cigarette explosions can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of surgery, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced product defect attorney will be able to advise injured victims regarding their legal rights and options.