Some kitchen appliances are inherently more dangerous than others. Because of their design and method of operation, pressure cookers can be some of the most hazardous items in an American household.
Pressure cookers rely on high pressure to cook foods quickly, trapping extremely hot liquid and food. If the appliance happens to break or fail due to defects in materials or design, an accident may occur involving spills and explosions.
Each year, defective pressure cookers are recalled by appliance manufacturers and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). However, by the time the specific defective models are recalled, consumers may have already suffered serious injuries.
In fact, many recalls are not initiated until injuries are reported or lawsuits hold companies accountable for the damages they have caused. Victims of defective products and their attorneys have the right to file claims against any company who sells and distributes dangerous defective kitchen appliances like pressure cookers.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati recall lawyer and product liability attorney representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of consumer product liability and Faulty Pressure Cookers.
Pressure Cooker Explosions
Pressure cookers are popular because they can cook food quickly and easily. But manufacturers may downplay the explosion risk of these appliances, and they may fail to properly test their cookers before they are put to market, endangering consumers.
Some pressure cooker models may be plagued by design defects, faulty seals and gaskets, improper assembly or cheap materials that cannot withstand heat and pressure. Recent lawsuits have targeted manufacturers for producing faulty cookers with the following defects:
Loose & Ineffective Pot Seal—the seal on a pot is a critical safety component as it should collect spilling boiling contents.
Defective Gaskets—manufacturers may work with inferior materials, including gaskets that may crack or split and allow the pot to open and cause injury.
Exploding Cookers—improper assembly or cheap materials can lead to poor venting design, which may lead to cooker explosions, and burn injuries.
Lid Lock Defect—if a lid fails, contents may spill or spray consumers
Pressure Cooker Recalls
The Consumer Product Safety Commission analyzes whether a product poses a “substantial product hazard,” and makes recall decisions based on the three following factors:
Types of defects—design defects, construction and packaging flaws, and inadequate warnings or instructions may all lead to recalls.
Volume of defective products—one poor safety report can lead to a recall, but usually recalled products have already caused harm to many consumers.
Severity of the risk—the safety agency carefully notes the number of injuries reported, the severity of those injuries, and the likelihood of more injuries occurring in the future.
Defective Pressure Cookers
When pressure cookers spill or explode, boiling liquid and steam can potentially cause serious second and third-degree burns. Scalding and burns are common on the hands, arms, torso, face, neck and head.
The pressure may also cause the components of the cooker to detach from the appliance and strike those nearby. Common injuries associated with defective pressure cooker spills and accidents include:
Scalding—Third degree steam burns
Eye injuries & blindness
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Face burn & trauma
Kitchen & Appliance Safety
Lawsuits have been filed against Tristar Products following alleged pressure cooker accidents and subsequent burn injuries. For years, plaintiffs and consumer safety attorneys have tried to hold kitchen appliance companies accountable for defective and unsafe consumer products. When a defective product injures someone, compensation can be sought by filing product liability lawsuits.
Some of the following pressure cooker models have been recalled after injury complaints, safety agency or manufacturer safety concerns:
Faulty Pressure Cookers have allegedly injured hundreds of American consumers, and product liability burn injury lawsuits have been filed on behalf of injured plaintiffs. When companies fail to properly test their products and their products injure consumers, they are liable for the damages.
Exploding pressure cookers are not just a unfounded fear or urban legend, but a reality that can be prevented if companies take the initiative to release safer kitchen products. Tristar Products has been targeted in recent lawsuits due to alleged burn hazards associated with the appliance.
Reports of exploding Tristar pressure cookers have reached consumer safety groups and product liability attorneys are taking action. Without warning, some faulty pressure cookers explode and send boiling hot contents into the room, leading to scald injuries. There are dozens of pending burn injury lawsuits naming Tristar as a defendants.
Not long ago in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a two-year-old baby was so severely scalded by a pressure cooker accident that one of her legs had to be amputated. The accident reportedly involved a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL, which has not been recalled, even following several high-profile injury complaints.
Pressure cookers are marketed as time-saving appliances, cooking food up to 70 percent faster than conventional cooking methods. However, accidents that lead to burns and other serious injuries put consumers at an increased risk in the kitchen.
Crock Pot Burn Injury
Pressure cookers and crock pots have been used for decades in American homes, and can help reduce time cooking in the kitchen. But many pressure cooker models are dangerous and can pose serious burn injury hazards. Some have been recalled after many injury reports, though many other brands remain on the market, presenting an unnecessary safety risk for consumers.
Many people have suffered third-degree burn injuries when a pressure cooker explodes, and sends extremely hot liquids into the air. According to consumer reports, the Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL may explode and cause serious burn injury. Pressure cookers are often poorly designed, and may not have proper airtight seals or gaskets that function properly.
If a cooker seal breaks, air is released and the lid can fly off, along with boiling hot contents. A recent burn injury and product liability lawsuit filed against Sunbeam claimed the Crock-Pot Express pressure cooker has inherent defective components and is defectively designed, leading to serious consumer burn injury.
Defective pressure cookers can have faulty locks, seals, gaskets and inferior cheap materials. Subsequent injuries can cause permanent scarring, traumatic eye injury and tissue damage.
Pressure Cookers Injury Risk
Pressure cookers can cause a number of serious burn injuries, and as a result the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has published safety measures to help consumers protect themselves in the kitchen. The following safety tips may reduce the risk of burn injury and encourage safe kitchen practice:
If the pressure cooker model you own is recalled, do not use it and return it the place in which it was purchased.
Do not buy a second hand pressure cooker, as it may malfunction, have broken parts or old seals.
Keep seals and rubber gaskets clean.
If a seal or gasket looks cracked or broken, replace it or purchase a new cooker.
Follow the instruction manual and safety instructions.
Measure liquids precisely. This is important as too much or too little liquid can present safety hazards.
Do not overfill pressure cookers. Some foods expand when they cook and need extra space.
Beware of frothy foods. Frothy foods can block steam valves and pressure-release vents. When cooking foods like pasta, split peas, oatmeal, applesauce or cranberries, make sure the quantity is well below the maximum-fill line.
Release pressure and lid safely. Pressure is released by letting the cooker cool until the pressure drops to a safe range. Consult the instruction manual.
Stay clear of steam. Open the cooker with the lid facing away from you.
Use dry pot holders.
Inspect pressure cookers before use. Check the lid for cracks, and make sure the vent is open and clean.
Clean pressure cookers after each use.
Why Are Pressure Cookers Dangerous?
Pressure cookers are sealed cooking devices that use a high amount of pressure to increase the boiling point of liquids. This allows food to cook without large amounts of water, energy or time. Food is usually placed within the pressure cooker and sealed with an air-tight lid that will not allow steam to escape during the cooking process.
As the steam pressure rises, the water’s boiling point increases as well. When the optimal pressure of the cooking device is attained, the heat is reduced and the built pressure and high temperature cook the food in quick fashion.
But because some cooking devices are defective, the steam and boiling water may escape, or the entire pressure cooker may explode, causing serious injuries to consumers.
Pressure Cooker Lawsuits
Pressure Cooker Defect Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of injured plaintiffs throughout the United States. Product Liability law holds companies responsible for dangerous consumer products that present a burn hazard or safety risk.
Pressure Cooker defects are common, and companies have a duty to properly test their products before they are sold to the public and pose burn injury risks. The Lyon Firm is proud to target companies who fail to provide safe consumer products, and has experience filing personal injury claims on behalf of burn injury victims nationwide.
Defective kitchen appliances can turn an ordinary day in the kitchen into a quick disaster. Due to their method of cooking contents at extremely high pressurized temperatures, pressure cookers have been known to cause serious pressure cooker injuries when they explode or spill boiling contents.
Most reported pressure cooker explosions are the result of the seal failing or the lid popping off prematurely. Burns are the most common injuries linked to defective pressure cookers. Consumers who are nearby when a device fails may suffer severe burns and scalding pressure cooker injuries across their face and body.
Pressure cooker lids are meant to be designed to create airtight seals with a rubber gasket, but if the seal is faulty and breaks before the device has time to release pressure, it can cause the lid to detach and spill boiling contents. This malfunction can occur even with safety locks if the materials are inferior and the design is defective.
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ABOUT THE LYON FIRM
Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.
The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.
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Why are these cases important?
Many product liability cases have had a positive impact on public health and safety, and we have witnessed improved lives and future injuries prevented as companies are forced to remove products and change designs and warnings as a result of litigation.
Two pressure cooker recalls in 2017 highlighted the potential dangers of defective kitchen appliances for consumers. In August, 2017, Aldi stores in Australia initiated a recall of the Crofton Chef’s Collection 6L Pressure Cooker by H&H Asia after reports of six people sustaining serious injuries after the pressure cookers exploded. The defective cookers sprayed boiling liquids and allegedly burning victims’ faces, eyes, upper bodies, arms and torsos. In June, 2017, Target stores issued a product recall for their Bellini Pressure Cookers, sold between October, 2015 and June, 2017, after an alleged defect with the lid was discovered. A defective lid may cause it to come loose under pressure and scalding contents may be released, potential for serious burns and other injuries.
All six people injured by the recalled Aldi pressure cooker mentioned above allegedly suffered either second-degree burns or third-degree burns that covered up to a third of their bodies. Second-degree burns typically result in swelling, blisters, leaking fluid, and possible skin loss and swelling. Third-degree burns are more serious, penetrate the entire thickness of the skin, and damage nerve endings. Pressure cookers cook foods at temperatures higher than 250 degrees Fahrenheit. When contents spill or the appliance explodes, the dangers are obvious. In this example with the Aldi cookers, the locking mechanism allegedly failed, hot pressure steam released from the product, and in two reports, the lid of the cooker detached from the device, causing face and eye injuries.
Whether an accident involves defective pressure cookers, crock pots, gas stoves, microwaves, blenders of other appliances, the injuries are typically burn injuries and lacerations. Severe scalding and third degree burns are often serious injuries.
The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the risks associated with the design of a product: (1) the magnitude of the risk of injury; (2) ordinary consumer awareness of the risk for injury; (3) the likelihood of causing injury; (4) the violation of a private or public standard; and (5) the consumer’s expectation of the performance of the product and level of danger. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (B) Product Defective in Design or Formulation.
The following factors are considered under Ohio law when determining the benefits associated with product design: (1) the utility of the product; (2) availability of an alternative design; (3) the magnitude of risks associated with an alternative design. Ohio Revised Code 2307.5 (c)
Defenses for Defective Design: (1) a pharmaceutical drug or medical device is not defective by design if it contains an adequate warning of an unavoidably unsafe aspect of the pharmaceutical or medical device; (2) the dangerous aspect is inherent to the product, recognizable, and cannot be eliminated without compromising the product’s usefulness; (3) a lack of a feasible alternative design. 2307.75 (d)(e)(f).
A manufacturing defect is based on a defect that occurred during the manufacturing process. Most manufacturing defect cases are based on a products deviation from the intended specification, formula, performance standards, or design model. In such cases, it may be easy to determine the product did not comply with the intended design.
The product may be recalled as a specific lot is identified as being non-compliant and defective. A product may be defective in manufacture or construction, materials and assembly, and a manufacturer or distributor may be subject to strict liability, even though it exercised all possible care. Ohio Revised Code 2307.74.
In determining whether a product is defective due to inadequate warning or instruction, evidence must be presented to prove:
The manufacturer knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about a risk
A reasonable manufacturer would have provided a warning of the risk
The manufacturer failed to provide the warning
The person was injured due to a lack of warning. The same elements apply whether the claim is based on a warning present during the marketing or post-sale warnings.
Defenses to Failure to Warn Claims: (1) the risk was open and obvious or a matter of common knowledge; and (2) in cases of a pharmaceutical drug or medical device, the warning was provided to the prescribing physician (“Learned Intermediary Doctrine”).
Many pharmaceutical companies have been targeted in failure to warn lawsuits for either failing to place warnings on medication guides and packaging or failing to properly test their product before putting it to market.
Due to pressure cooker explosion reports, about 100,000 Instant Pot Cookers were recalled in 2018. Since then, several other models have caused injury to consumers.
Consumer Safety Litigation
Filing Product Defect Lawsuits
Defective kitchen products on the market present safety and burn hazards for adults and children. Cheap and defective cooking products may pose fire and burn risks; electrocution, and laceration risks. The manufacturers of consumer products have a duty to foresee potential injury and properly design and test products before they are released.
Companies must also properly warn consumers of any risks associated with their products. Any failure to protect consumers that results in kitchen accidents and injury can lead to lawsuits filed by plaintiffs and their product liability lawyer