The health risks associated with vaping are in the news lately, with as many as seven e-cigarette users dying from lung conditions in recent weeks. But another vaping danger comes from the propensity of the devices’ batteries to catch fire and injure their users, as was the case with a GWC client for whom attorneys Louis Anthony Cairo and Michael D. Fisher recently obtained a $475,000.00 settlement.
Vaping Battery Ignites in Pocket
On an afternoon in April 2015, GWC’s client was driving on I-90 in the area of Hoffman Estates, IL when his pants caught fire. The source of the fire was a lithium-ion battery in the client’s left front pocket. The client kept the object in his pocket as a replacement battery for his vaping device. The fire was the result of an accidental short-circuiting of the battery when its terminals came into contact with the client’s keys and coins.
As a result of the battery catching fire, the client sustained second-degree burns on his left inner thigh, left index finger, and left thumb. His injuries prevented him from performing the duties of his job as a tow truck driver for almost a month, a significant economic blow to his family.
Retailer Knew of the Battery’s Danger
To help the client obtain fair compensation for his injuries, GWC filed a lawsuit against a company that owns a chain of vape stores, the Naperville location of which sold the lithium-ion battery that caught fire. The lawsuit alleged that the retailer failed to warn the client about the battery’s risk of spontaneous combustion.
“At the time our client purchased the battery, it was well known that lithium-ion batteries had a propensity to ignite when they come into contact with metal,” said Mr. Fisher. “Despite this fact, nobody warned our client about this risk. He had no idea that he was putting a virtual ticking time bomb in his pocket.”
In building a case against the retailer, Mr. Cairo conducted sworn depositions with the owner, the regional manager, and a former employee at the Naperville location. Both the owner and the regional manager testified that they were unaware of the dangers of lithium-ion batteries – despite multiple media accounts of e-cigarette and lithium-ion battery incidents, restrictions placed on their transportation on aircraft, and numerous online postings by e-cigarette users. The former employee, however, told a different story.
“In her deposition, the employee testified that management was well aware of the dangers of lithium-ion cells and initially told employees to warn new customers,” Mr. Cairo said. “The general manager, in particular, discussed the issue with employees. Unfortunately, this policy was not put into writing, enforced, or maintained.”
Despite the retailer’s proven knowledge of the risk, nobody at the store warned the client at the date of purchase, nor was there an appropriate warning label on the battery itself or on its packaging. There was also no conspicuous signage in the stores about this danger.
Based on the information he uncovered during the deposition process, Mr. Cairo demonstrated that the retailer failed to alert the client of a known risk and was therefore responsible for his injuries. As a result, Mr. Cairo and Mr. Fisher were able to obtain a $475,000.00 settlement for their client prior to trial.
How a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
We are surrounded by products in our modern world. We trust that these products are safe, that they are manufactured with the best materials and under the best conditions by companies with the best of intentions. But what if they are not? What if you or a loved one is severely injured or even killed in a vaping explosion or in some other way? How can you ensure that those who are responsible are held accountable for their negligence?
At times like these, injured people could benefit from knowledgeable legal representation, the kind they would find from the Chicago personal injury lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers. With more than $2 billion recovered for our clients over more than four decades in practice, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our attorneys have the experience, the determination, and the proven record of success you need to help get you the justice you deserve.
If you have been wrongfully injured, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.