Tabletop fire pits or fire pots are often the cause of severe injuries due to their highly-flammable fuels. Unfortunately, some decorative fires are more likely to malfunction, giving rise to product liability claims. Case Barnett Law recently obtained a settlement for a client who suffered burn injuries from a tabletop fire pit while trying to enjoy an evening in his backyard.
Our client purchased the outdoor tabletop fire pit and gel lighter fluid as a combination sold by the defendant. Although both items were used according to manufacturer instructions, our client suffered third-degree burns on his legs that required two skin graft surgeries.
Who Is at Fault When a Defective Product Causes Injuries?
In product liability cases, several parties can share liability for the accident. First is the company that creates the product, which has a duty to ensure that it is reasonably safe for consumers. Injury victims could also sue the person that sold the product, the company that produced components for the product, the distributor, or anyone else involved in the stream of commerce who profited off of the dangerous product.
We often advise clients in product liability cases to preserve the defective item instead of throwing it away. In particular, any product involving heat or fire usually requires an expert opinion on how the product operates and whether the problem was caused by a malfunction or operator error.
Using the malfunctioning product as evidence is highly effective in front of a judge and jury, especially in fire damage cases. Another advantage in preserving the defective product is that it’s more difficult for the defense to argue that the customer modified it in a way that made it unsafe after it was sold.
Our Actions Helped Our Client and Prevented Harm to Others
Our investigation revealed that the refueling container could ignite almost instantaneously, causing it to explode. There were also fumes when the flame appeared to have gone out, causing explosions when someone tried to re-light the fire. In addition, the person holding the container might react by throwing it, inadvertently spraying other people at the fire pit with burning fuel.
We were able to show that the defendants had constructed and sold decorative fire pits and gel lighter fluid that were prone to explosion. After two years of litigation and during the pandemic, we secured a $1,000,000 package settlement for our client. We are also happy to report that the company that manufactured the fire pit and the company that sold the fuel gel are no longer in business, so their products cannot cause others harm.
Lawsuits like these compensate the victims and force companies to face the consequences of selling dangerous products. While our first duty is always to our clients, we take pride in holding corporations accountable for errors and making our communities safer for everyone.
Always Act Quickly When a Consumer Product Injures You!
In any product liability case, it’s essential to act quickly. In California, you only have two years from the date of injury to file your claim—assuming the company is still in business and has enough profits or insurance to pay you a settlement.
If a defective product has injured you or someone you love, Case Barnett Law is here to explain your legal options and get the justice you deserve. Please call our office at 949-409-0055 or contact us online to begin your free and confidential consultation.