In the last few years electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes” as they are commonly called, have become increasingly popular across California. An e-cigarette is a cigarette-shaped device that vaporizes a nicotine based liquid that the user inhales in order to simulate the experience of smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette. While researchers are not sure of the long-term health ramifications associated with using e-cigarettes, many people are switching from traditional to electronic cigarettes because of perceived health benefits. However, e-cigarettes may pose an unexpected risk to your health. An article in the National Law Review reports that there are a rising number of e-cigarette malfunctions occurring in California. Malfunctions are occurring in a number of different ways, including exploding and catching fire, and are causing serious bodily injuries. As a result, product liability lawsuits for personal injury claims are being filed across California.
The National Law Review reports that numerous e-cigarettes have exploded or caught fire due to a defective heating element. E-cigarettes work by heating a nicotine based liquid to its boiling point via a heating element that is often powered by a lithium ion battery. If the battery overheats it can combust or explode. A malfunctioning e-cigarette can be particularly dangerous due to the fact that users generally hold the device in their hand or between their lips while smoking.
California’s Product Liability Laws
In California, as in other states, we have product liability laws designed to protect consumers who are injured by a product that has a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or did not include sufficient warnings or instructions. These laws generally hold manufacturers, as well as sellers and retailers involved in the product’s chain of distribution, liable for compensating parties who are injured by their product. However, before an injured party can win their case, they must prove that their injury was caused by a defect in the product. Because California embraces a strict liability approach to product liability claims, the injured party does not need to show that the defendant was negligent in allowing the product to be unreasonably dangerous.
California’s Statute of Limitations
Most states have statutes of limitation that limit the timeframe in which an injured party can file a personal injury claim based on a defective product. In California, under California’s Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, there is a statute of limitations that bars recovery for product liability claims that are filed more than two years after the injury was discovered. Therefore, if you have been injured by an e-cigarette in California do not wait too long before filing your lawsuit or else you may not be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
Need Legal Advice?
If you have been injured by a malfunctioning e-cigarette in California and would like to discuss your legal rights, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm today. Our experienced personal injury lawyers would be happy to meet with you during a free consultation. Our office in Newport Beach can be reached by calling (949) 861-2990.