Yesterday morning, I saw an interesting report about dangerous products lawsuits filed against makers of red plastic portable gasoline containers due to an alleged explosion hazard. *Source: www.todayshow.com
The explosion hazard is a rare risk, but a real risk that can be fatal. According to the report, in the last 15 years, there have been 11 deaths and 1,200 consumers treated in emergency rooms due to gas can explosions. Many of the consumers were seriously injured.
The red plastic portable gasoline containers or gas cans are sold throughout the United States. Most Americans have them in their homes or garages. According to industry estimates, about 20 million gas cans are bought by consumers each year, and there are more than 100 million gas cans circulating in the U.S.
They are often used when cars are stranded on the side of the road because the cars ran out of gas. Another way many consumers use gas cans is to fill up lawnmowers or any outdoor household equipment and machines that require gasoline.
Multiple injured and burned consumers have filed lawsuits against the gas can manufacturers. Most of the lawsuits have named Blitz USA, one of the largest manufacturer of gas cans and Wal-Mart, the largest seller of gas cans as defendants.
One of the injured victims interviewed was using the gas can to pour gasoline into a lawnmower when the gas can exploded. As a result, he suffered burns over 1/3 of his body.
The lawsuits filed by injured consumers are known as products liability claims, where consumers sue manufacturers or sellers of products for dangerous or unsafe products that cause injuries to consumers. The plaintiffs in these cases argue that the plastic gas cans are “dangerous” and “unsafe” because they are “susceptible” to flashback explosions. See part 2 of this article which discusses flashback explosions.
A lawyer for the gas can manufacturer said that the injured consumers did not properly use the gas can, which led to the explosions.
However, pursuant to products liability law or dangerous products law, just because consumers misuse products does not mean that the manufacturer and/or seller are not liable for their injuries. Manufacturers are obligated to consider how their products will likely be used by reasonable, average consumers. When designing and marketing products, companies must consider reasonable misuse or use of a product that is not exactly in line with product warnings. For instance, chair manufacturers must consider that people will stand on chairs, even though directions and warnings may indicate otherwise. See Can Consumers Be Blamed For Getting Hurt & Injured By A Defective Or Dangerous Product?
Therefore, it is important for consumers who are injured by a dangerous or unsafe product to talk to an experienced dangerous or unsafe products lawyer to discuss the validity of their claims even if they think they may have partly contributed to their accident and injuries.
Related Dangerous Products Legal Article: Pennsylvania Products Liability Law
Click here to read part 2 of this blog which discusses the conditions that cause the gas cans to explode and whether there is an easy fix for this dangerous condition.
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