Pressure Cooker Explosion Lawsuits
Pressure cookers are popular in the U.S. because they offer a convenient method to cook meals quickly. These common kitchen appliances allow you to cook meals that would normally take several hours in under one hour. However, when the safety features of these machines fail, catastrophic injuries can result. Numerous people have suffered severe burn and other injuries as a result of defective cooker explosions. If you have suffered serious injuries because of a defective pressure cooker, you may have legal rights. Our lawyers are currently reviewing potential claims on behalf of victims of cooker explosions. Contact us today in South Carolina to learn more about your potential claim and whether you might have grounds to file a lawsuit.
How do pressure cookers work?
Electric cookers that use pressure can speed up meal preparation substantially. These machines trap steam to thoroughly cook your food much faster than traditional cooking methods. Pressure cookers are comprised of three main parts, including a removable inner part, the housing of the appliance, and the lid. The inner pot is usually made out of steel. Inside of the housing is a heating unit, temperature and pressure sensors, and a control box. The lids are designed to seal to the inner chamber so that pressure can build inside of it.
When a pressure cooker is on, a locking mechanism is designed to keep the lid on as the pressure builds inside of the inner pot. When the cooking cycle is finished, the cooker should sound an alert so that the owner can release the pressure. It is unsafe to open pressure cookers until all of the steam is released. If you do, you risk being seriously injured and burned because the scalding liquid and food inside of the inner port can explode, covering you and everything around the pot.
Defective pressure cookers are a serious problem
While pressure cookers are quickly becoming must-have kitchen essentials, there have been numerous explosions and resulting injury incidents around the country. In one recent case that was filed in Florida against Lifetime Brands, the company reached a $26 million settlement with the family of a young girl who suffered catastrophic injuries when their pressure cooker unexpectedly exploded. The girl, who was two years old at the time, suffered severe burns. While she was being treated in the hospital, she became septic and eventually had to undergo multiple amputations.
The cooker in the girl’s case had a locking mechanism that was faulty. Pressure cookers are supposed to have locks that prevent the lids from being opened while there is pressure built up inside of the machines. Lifetime Brands marketed the machine as a Vasconia branded machine. However, the company had decided that it was too expensive to import the Vasconia brand from Mexico to the U.S. and instead ordered machines from China that it then branded as Vasconia machines. Lifetime Brands had requested that the Chinese manufacturer make changes to the machines, including increasing their capacity to eight quarts. This change impacted the locking system. The girl’s burns and subsequent amputations resulted from the lock on her family’s appliance failing.
In addition to defective locks, other common defects that have resulted in explosions include faulty pressure-release valves. Some lawsuits have been filed when the contents exploded after the valves had released pressure and went back to their normal positions. Others have alleged that faulty valves allowed the pressure to continue building only to explode when the lids were removed.
Many branded pressure cookers in the U.S. are actually manufactured in China without the safety standards of the U.S. These cookers are simply licensed by U.S. companies to be sold in the nation, so most consumers have no idea where their pressure cookers were truly manufactured.
Potential claims against the manufacturers and sellers of pressure cookers
People who suffer severe injuries from exploding pressure cookers may have valid legal claims against all of those parties who were responsible for placing the cookers on the market under a theory of product liability. This might include designers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Defective products product liability claims may be available when people were using their pressure cookers in the manner that was intended but are still injured because of product defects. The claims may fall into three main categories, including design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. Claims are normally brought under theories of strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty.
In the case of an explosion, a claim could be based on the failure of a faulty valve, locking mechanism, or lid. All of the parties that were involved in bringing the cookers to the market and in its chain of production could be liable, including the following:
- Parties that designed the locks, valves, or other defective components
- Manufacturers of the cookers
- Companies that were licensed to market cookers that were manufactured by others
A lawsuit may be filed against some or all of these potential defendants, depending on the facts of what happened.
Potential injuries from the explosion of pressure cookers
When pressure cookers unexpectedly explode, their contents and lids may be violently released from the machines. People who are nearby may be covered in boiling liquids or hit by flying debris. The most common types of injuries that people suffer from exploding pressure cookers include the following:
- Second- and third-degree burns
- Scars and permanent disfigurement
These injuries may greatly impact the quality of life of the victims and can cause substantial financial losses. People who are injured in explosions may have to undergo multiple surgeries and face ongoing care needs for years after their injury accidents.
Potential damages in lawsuits involving defective pressure cookers
The amount of compensation that victims might be entitled to receive will depend on the extent and severity of their injuries, the conduct of the defendants, and other factors. This means that the potential compensation may vary from case to case. Some of the potential damages in cases involving exploding pressure cookers might include the following types:
- Past medical expenses
- Future anticipated medical costs
- Reconstructive surgeries
- Lost wages
- Reduced ability to earn an income
- Mental anguish
- Reductions in the ability to enjoy life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
What to do after pressure cookers explode, causing injuries
If you or your loved one is seriously injured following an explosion of your cooker, you should start by calling 911. Administer first aid to the victims, and follow the instructions of the 911 dispatcher until help arrives. Do not clean up the mess. Take pictures of everything. Photographs are important in subsequent claims because they provide documentary evidence of the scene. Keep the cooker that exploded. Your attorney will investigate whether your machine had a faulty valve, lid, or locking mechanism.
Contact our South Carolina law firm today
Being seriously injured in explosions of pressure cookers can leave you suffering from permanent injuries. It is important to talk to one of our attorneys about your potential claim. We can analyze what happened and provide you with a fair evaluation of your claim. If we agree to accept representation, we will conduct an in-depth investigation to make your claim stronger. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and to learn more about the rights that you might have. Jump to top