Falling stoves, exploding refrigerators, microwaves that come on their own, leaking cylinders—the list goes on and on with defective home appliances that can cause accidents.
It is easy to get comfortable with household appliances until another jarring story about a “safe” appliance causes an entire family to suffer grievous harm.
All these and more sometimes happen in various homes due to the misuse of appliances. The reason for the mishap at other times may be defective designs by the manufacturers.
Working with an estimate from 2006 to 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that major appliances caused more than 150,000 residential fires each year. This resulted in 3,670 injuries, 150 deaths, and $547 million in property damage.
Additionally, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that appliances led to 1,100 emergency department-treated injuries between 2017 and 2019. There was a record of 40 fatalities. However, after tipping over, stoves and ovens accounted for 27 fatalities between 2000 and 2019.
All of these misfortunes are due to one defective appliance or another. This is why legal action will ensue when the safety owed to consumers is not met.
In instances like this, forensic engineering can be used to detect the exact defect that led to the accident. Then legal animation can be made by a reputable engineering studio to illustrate the defect and how it could have caused the incident.
Examples of Defective Home Appliances
Any home appliance can be defective, but some are more prevalent than others. Here are some of the popular appliances found in most homes that may be defective:
Not only do stoves provide a risk of fire and explosion, but they also have the potential to emit carbon monoxide. The knobs, for instance, ought to be made so that they can’t be accidentally switched on.
To combat this, many stoves require the user to turn the knob while also pressing it in. There have also been incidents where the stove has tipped over and injured individuals, particularly youngsters.
In the case of Logan v. Montgomery Ward & Co., Incorporated, the plaintiff suffered both physical and financial harm. The oven she purchased, manufactured by the defendants, exploded after a meal, causing her and her house to be engulfed in flames. Not only did she suffer from burns, but she also lost many rooms in her house to the fire. In this case, a defective oven led to the fire.
Refrigerators, shockingly, pose a substantial fire danger. Despite having a cool interior, the refrigerator produces a lot of heat. A typical domestic refrigerator can become unsafe due to faulty wiring and compressors. When these are defective, there can be stories of exploding refrigerators.
Dryers and washers
The majority of the injuries caused by washers and dryers are burns. These occurrences typically occur due to improper installation or upkeep of the washer or dryer. However, occasionally there are issues with the dryer itself. This can be the outcome of poor manufacturing. The risk of fire and burns might increase when lint collectors and dryer exhaust ducts malfunction.
An example is seen in the case of Crandell v. Larkin and Jones Appliance Co. Here, the plaintiffs had bought a dryer manufactured by the dryer, which during sales was represented as “tag-tested” and “guaranteed.”
While using the dryer to dry a blanket, the plaintiff noticed a cloud of smoke and realized it was coming from the dryer. The fire department recognized the source of the fire as the dryer, which caused damage amounting to over $25,000
Pressure cookers and slow cookers
Appliance-related injuries are frequently caused by slow cookers and pressure cookers. These countertop equipment have the potential to cause burns and even explosions. Some of the causes may be faulty wiring, control, and design.
Almost everyone who has ever used a space heater before is aware of the fire risk it poses. But unlike what most people think, space heaters are significantly more harmful.
Users of space heaters are at extremely high risk, particularly if they are unattended. Some space heaters may also emit dangerously high volumes of carbon monoxide into the air. Therefore, continuous ventilation is required for safe use.
Additionally, using gas and kerosene heaters indoors is dangerous since they discharge dangerous chemicals. Placing a space heater anywhere where it could fall or cause an electrical overload could result in a fire starting.
Even a small device, like a toaster or a microwave, can lead to accidents. These small kitchen appliances might start fires. They might also have electrical issues that put individuals and their houses at serious risk.
Other than the appliances already mentioned, other common household items, like gas grills or dishwashers, could be dangerous if they malfunction. It may also fall over if a proper grip base is not installed in the appliance.
Using Legal Animation To Show What Sparked An Accident In Defective Home Appliances
When home appliances that are considered safe cause an accident due to some inherent defect, the cause of such defect must be identified. This is why forensic engineering is employed in discovering the point of the defect and how it affected the incident.
Defective appliances can cause serious harm, such as burns, cuts, poisoning, electrocution, and crushed limbs. Therefore, when injuries ensue, taking note of the defect is essential to receiving compensation for the harm caused.
After forensic engineers have dug out the defect in detail, legal animation helps to illustrate the appliance and the point of defect that led to an accident.
In the legal animation, the appliance is dissected to showcase the internal workings that caused the accident and the effects, which may be electrocution, explosion, fire, or any other harm caused.
Home appliances are meant to be safe and easy to use without fear of harm. When this safety duty is breached by the manufacturer, whether by the product or the design, a person will have a potential case in a court of law. In doing this, legal animation can illustrate the defect and how it led to an accident.
Therefore, in a product liability case, an engineering studio renowned for making product illustrations should be consulted to ensure that justice is done to the legal animation.
At Fox-AE, we have a team of engineers who are also animators. We can help illustrate products and their inherent defects in relation to an accident that may have been caused.
We work with remarkable law firms specializing in product liability cases and other relevant and essential aspects of law to ensure that our clients attain the highest level of compensation for their cases.