Legal Experts Call For Design And Advice Improvements
Lawyers who have secured settlements for two Norfolk men left with burns after E-cigarette batteries exploded in their pockets are calling for more to be done to improve both the design of the products and the advice provided to consumers about their storage.
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Product Liability team was instructed by two individuals after they were injured by batteries which were bought from the Various Vapz shop in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth at the end of 2015.
In both cases, the clients suffered burns to their legs after the lithium-ion Efest batteries exploded and emitted a visible flame.
Following their investigations, the experts at Irwin Mitchell launched legal action against Various Vapz arguing a range of issues contributed to the men’s injuries, including the fact the batteries were sold unpackaged and without safety instructions.
Various Vapz denied liability in both cases but agreed five-figure settlements with both men, who do not want to be named.
Expert Opinion“We have long-held concerns regarding the safety and quality of E-cigarette products, with specific issues relating to the design of batteries and whether the coating on them is sufficiently robust.
“The anode and cathode parts of the batteries in question are arranged concentrically and they are positioned very close to one another. If damage occurs to the protective outer coating, then contact with items like coins can short the batteries and cause ‘venting’. The effect of that is similar to a roman candle igniting in the user’s pocket.
“We are pleased to have helped our clients receive a settlement regarding their experiences, albeit without an admission of liability.
“We believe that it is key that products are stored and provided to consumers in the right manner, while consumers should also be given advice on the correct way to store and use such items.
“Such products are hugely popular and it is vital that everything possible is done to protect users from any potential risk of harm. Therefore we would urge manufacturers to also review the design of the products to ensure they are fit for purpose.” Matthew Newbould - Associate Solicitor
One of Irwin Mitchell’s clients bought an Aspire Pegasus vaporiser and two Lithium-ion Efest batteries in December 2015, with the individual stating he was given no advice on storage. In February 2016, he was just about to leave for work when a battery stored in his pocket alongside some coins heated and exploded. He suffered burn injuries to his left leg.
The 40-year-old was taken to A&E at Great Yarmouth Hospital for treatment and also required four further follow up appointments. He has been left with scarring on his left leg.
The man said: “I was just getting ready to leave for work when all of a sudden the battery exploded in my pocket and flames kept shooting out.
“The burns to my leg were so painful. My leg was bright red and blistered from the burns. If I’d have known how potentially dangerous putting the battery in my pocket could be there’s no way I would have.
“I just want to warn others to be very careful so they do not end up injured.”
The second man, aged 44, also bought a SMOK X Cube II vaporiser and two Efest batteries in December 2015. Again, after placing the batteries in his jeans pocket with coins in March 2016, one of the items went on to explode. He suffered burns to his right thigh and buttock.