When purchasing a product, you expect that it will work smoothly, but at times, it may not work as expected due to product defects. The same goes for a fire extinguisher, and having a defective fire extinguisher is a considerable risk to one’s life.
In a fire emergency, you want the fire extinguisher to work with advertised performance. But more than one story exists about incidents when a person made an attempt to extinguish flames but was unable to do so.
Some tragically failed fire extinguishers failed at sea on boats, and others on private and public premises and even commercial trucks with engine fires. Few tortures can be worse than suffering death by burn injury.
Let’s explore the defective fire extinguisher case in connection with severe injuries and death, and what you must do to stay safe.
A the end we will include a bonus communication about obtaining professional legal representation for recalled product violations on a contingency basis.
If you got hurt or your loved one injured due to a defective fire extinguisher failing to function properly, contact Ehline Law. Our Los Angeles product liability lawyers are ready to fight for your future.
We will seek damage from the alleged defendants subjecting you to flames, smoke inhalation, millions in property damage, and death!
Is Your Fire Extinguisher Expired?
Many different products have an expiration date, but most secure fire extinguishers do not come with one. Although there are no expiration dates, a fire extinguisher can go wrong, and many a person will realize that fact later on when an incident and injury complaint occurs.
To prevent such a thing from happening, you can check the serial code on the fire extinguisher label and call up the manufacturer. They will be able to guide you further with the product details.
A fire extinguisher is suitable for 5 to 15 years, depending on the storage conditions, but it is best to replace the product if it is getting old.
If you’re renting a place, ask your landlord to look at the fire extinguisher. Landlords are liable to provide a free replacement fire extinguisher or purchase a fire extinguisher if the previously fitted extinguishers are inoperable or defective.
Let’s look at a few obvious things clients should watch out for to determine if the fire extinguisher is too old, or past due for testing.
Symptoms of an Old Fire Extinguisher
If you’re unsure about how old a fire extinguisher may be, here are a few signs you should look out for:
- The inspection sticker on the product will let you know the last time somebody checked the item.
- Check the needle on the pressure gauge, and if it is below the green area, it needs replacement.
- Corrosion and rust on a fire extinguisher.
In cases where the product has a defect, the manufacturers will do a product recall and take all the units back from the market. This burn injury prevention recall helps ensure consumer safety.
That way, suffering victims won’t get hurt due to a defective product. This procedure helps protect the company from any lawsuits. Let’s look at the Walter Kidde portable equipment recall in the United States.
Kidde Defective Fire Extinguishers Recall
Kidde, a global leader in fire protection systems and products, became well-known due to the 2017 Kidde fire extinguisher recall. The company had to recall more than 38 million fire extinguishers with plastic handles in 2017 due to some defects.
Those recalled fire extinguishers failed tests under the Consumer Product Safety Act regarding design and manufacturing defects.
In 2017, the Kidde fire extinguishers manufactured had product issues (failed or limited activation) and would require excessive force to work. This defect could lead to fatalities in case of a fire breakout.
The nozzle on the defective Kidde fire extinguishers was also not a perfect fit, as with a bit of force, it could detach and hit someone leading to impact damage.
The recall came when the Consumer Product Safety Commission published a report on the manufacturer stating more than 400 incidents of a product defect, inability to work, and nozzle detachments.
Besides 16 injuries from the product, consumers reported property damage from the fire extinguishers.
Are House Fires Common in California?
To understand how big of a concern a defective fire extinguisher can be, let’s look at the number of house fires in the country and then in California.
In the United States, the National Fire Protection Association reports a fire emergency call to the fire department every 24 seconds in the country. From 2013 to 2017, it reported around 485,000 structure fires with 13,000 injuries and more than 2,800 deaths.
There were also approximately 198,000 vehicle fires, with more than 1,400 injured and around 390 dead.
Surprisingly, California has a lower fire incident rate than other states’ averages. In 2018, the national average stood at six deaths and 24 injuries per 1,000 houses, but around four deaths and 16 injuries per 1,000 homes in California.
Although the figure is low, there is still risk considerable risk of fire breakouts in the state necessitating legal advice and forming an attorney-client relationship.
Injuries You Can Get with a Defective Fire Extinguisher During a Fire Emergency
If fire extinguishers fail during a fire emergency, (Ex: a car fire or kitchen fire), the most common injury a defective fire extinguisher victim might face remains severe burn injuries. Medical records will denote the nature and extent of your burn injuries.
Here are a few other types of injuries injury victims have gotten from using a defective fire extinguisher:
There are many personal injury cases involving burn injuries. Can you think of some more personal injury cases with excessive force to discharge a severe impact hazard with enough force to cause a wrongful death? What about a manufacturing defect, causing a spontaneous fire extinguisher explosion?
Believe it or not, there are consumer complaints documenting previously recalled fire extinguishers as failing to put out flames on personal watercraft motors and other recreational vehicles too due to a fault nozzle detachment!
These eight models were stated to have unreasonable risks to consumers with the repeatedly pressed nozzles detaching during a fire accident. Because of this, these models were pulled from the shelves of businesses like Walmart, with firefighters warning the public about recalls as well.
Kidde issued a warning on their official website, after at least one death and some property loss related to the models affected. According to the federal government, these consumer products are dangerous products in the present condition.
There is additional CPSC information online for general information purposes. Although the recall mitigated damages to vendors, apparently many victims had already been injured.
Product Liability in California
A defective product can lead to injuries, and in the case of fire, failure to operate during a fire can be deadly. In California, product liability holds the manufacturer accountable for a bad product resulting in injuries to the consumer, and it can determine if you are eligible for compensation.
In the case of a rented home, if the landlord is aware of the condition of the fire extinguisher and does not replace it, resulting in injuries to you, the landlord is accountable for negligence as they should’ve gotten a new fire extinguisher.
The same goes for the failure of fire suppression systems released for public consumption. Suppose you’re at a private property and the fire suppression system fails to work, dealing injuries to you.
In that case, the owner of the private property is responsible for the damage from the defective fire suppression system. If it’s public property, you can file claims against the city or relevant government entity.
You must hurry with filing claims immediately as there is a certain window period. In California, victims have two years to file for personal injury claims but only six months if the damages involve a public/government entity.
Why Work with Our California Product Liability Attorneys?
Ehline Law and our California product liability attorneys have decades of experience helping product liability victims get justice. These types of cases are quite complex, and having the right attorney can go a long way in obtaining maximum compensation.
Here is how we help product liability injury victims:
- We will help establish that the damages resulting from a defective product and the defendant party (manufacturers or the property owner) had a duty of care that they breached.
- We will help determine the value of damages and file Los Angeles defective fire extinguisher claims accordingly to minimize or eliminate the chances of a claim denial.
- Since California awards compensation based on the degree of fault, our attorneys will help prove that it was not your fault at all to ensure maximum compensation.
If you’ve gotten hurt due to defective fire extinguishers, contact us at (213) 596-9642 and get a free consultation with our California product liability lawyers today. We understand how tragic an injury is for injury victims and the toll it takes on a family, and this is why our lawyers work on a no-win-no-fee basis. Let us handle your legal battles while you recover.
Compensation won’t undo the damage done, but it’ll help pay for medical bills and other costs to get your life back on track. Contact us for more information on how we can help.