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Vape Pen Explodes, Causing Third Degree Burns

close up portrait of a man smoking an e-cigarette

Recent reports show that carrying around an e-cig can be more dangerous than lighting a real cigarette. A Phoenix man suffered second and third degree burns after his vape pen suddenly exploded in his pocket. Twenty-two year old Otis Stovall told Fox News he was unloading a truck at his work when the incident happened. He’s now publicly speaking out against e-cigarettes, a product which he claims has left him with deep burns down his leg. Stovall says that like many people trying to quit lighting up, he turned to vaping instead. He had no idea that it might cost him serious pain and weeks of recovery.

“I just looked down and saw that pieces of my skin were missing,” he told reporters after being treated at the Arizona Burn Center. After hearing an explosion, he looked down and saw “… flames spurting out of my pocket so I just immediately started hitting it but I didn’t know what was happening.”

The vaporizer had spontaneously exploded, taking with it large chunks of Stovall’s skin. Authorities at the Burn Center confirmed that this is the second e-cig explosion injury they have treated this year.

E-cig blows up, leaving victim with severe burns

Stovall’s mother cautioned about the dangers of vaping, given the life-altering injuries her son has suffered. The thermal injury was so great that Stovall must have skin grafting surgery – an operation that entails a lengthy recovery of several weeks or months. The 22-year old victim warns others to steer clear of vaporizers, saying, “If you’re going to quit smoking cigarettes, just quit smoking cigarettes. Don’t go to anything else.”

Vape explosions lead to litigation

There have been scores of other cases of e-cigs exploding in other parts of the country. The problem in many of these accidents is the lithium-ion battery, which can overheat and explode if they get too much voltage.

In 2013, Jennifer Ries’ vaporizer blew up while plugged in her car’s charger. Flames burst out of the device, leaving her with second degree burns on her hand, leg and buttocks. Her injuries would have been worse had her husband not poured ice coffee on her leg to douse the flames. The accident completely transformed her life, leaving her with physical and emotional scars.

Ries filed a claim against the e-cig distributor and wholesaler, in addition to the store where she purchased the unit in California. Her product liability lawsuit charged that the manufacturer and wholesaler distributed a product without sufficient warnings about known hazards. A Superior Court jury agreed with her allegations and awarded her $1.9 million in damages.

Content with her verdict, Ries says that she hopes her lawsuit and award will bring more attention to the very real dangers of e-cigs, which need more government regulation.

Filing an e-cig injury lawsuit

Vaporizers have been available for purchase in the United States since 2007, and have been linked to more than 50 injury reports, according to FDA data. Individuals who have suffered burns or other types of harm from an e-cigarette malfunction may be entitled to substantial compensation that accounts for all medical bills, lost income, emotional suffering and diminished capacity to earn.

To learn more about your options for legal recourse, we invite you to contact the personal injury attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye for a free case review. You can reach our offices, anytime night or day by dialing 800-469-7429.

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