Faulty Appliances And Injuries That Go With Them

May 5, 2024

By Promoting Justice

Faulty appliances lead to many serious injuries and deaths every year. We reasonably expect as consumers to be able to use appliances to make our lives easier and more efficient, not to be harmed by them. If you have been injured by a faulty appliance and would like to learn more about your legal options, consider contacting Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer at (802) 457-4848 to schedule a free case review. 

Types of Faulty Appliances 

Appliances of any size can be defective. However, some of the most serious injuries can come from larger home appliances, such as: 

  • Stoves
  • Ranges
  • Wall ovens
  • Refrigerators
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines
  • Dryers
  • Over-the-range microwaves
  • Water heaters

Faulty appliances in smaller sizes can also do considerable damage, especially if their construction or operating conditions frequently involve sharp cutting edges or high temperatures.

  • Stand or hand mixers
  • Counter microwaves
  • Toasters
  • Space heaters
  • Can openers
  • Blenders
  • Coffee makers
  • Food processors
  • Fryers

If you have a faulty appliance, this may be due to a product defect. Individuals injured by defective products may be entitled to compensation for the harms they have suffered.

Types of Product Defects

Product defects generally fall into one of a few categories. These include:

Design Defect 

A design defect occurs when the original design of a product is inherently dangerous. This kind of defect applies to all of the products made according to the design, and can be seen in appliances for which some of the components melt at temperatures lower than those generated during normal use (use according to the manufacturer’s operating instructions).

Manufacturing Defect 

Cornell Law School explains that a manufacturing defect is one that occurs when a product’ does not conform to a product’s design. In this case, the appliance does not present undue hazards when it is produced according to the design, but an error during the manufacturing process may cause either an individual item or an entire batch of products to be unsafe. Appliances with missing screws or inadequately secured interior components can be examples of manufacturing defects. 

Tipping Injury

Another common injury caused by appliances is a tipping injury caused when the appliance falls onto the victim when it tips over. This is more common in cases involving children and can result in broken bones, soft tissue injuries, and other crushing injuries. 

Warning Defect

An advertising defect, or failure to warn defect, occurs when a company fails to properly alert consumers to potential risks of using the appliance. The instructions are not adequate to make use of the product safe, even if the product does not have any physical flaws. For example, there may not be needed warnings about not placing the appliance near an open water source. 

Common Injuries Caused by Defective Appliances?

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, household appliances were responsible for approximately 1,100 emergency-department treated injuries and 40 fatalities during a recent three-year period. 27 of these fatalities were caused by stoves or ovens. 

The particular type of injury a victim suffers from a faulty appliance depends on the appliance and the circumstances. Some examples of injuries various appliances can cause include:

  • Washing machines and dryers – These appliances can cause burns, for instance when the dryer exhaust ducts or lint collectors are not working correctly. When the consumer reaches into the appliance, their skin may be burned, which can involve severe injuries and scarring. Faulty washers and dryers can also catch fire, leading to fire injuries as well as smoke inhalation, which can cause long-lasting respiratory issues. 
  • Stoves and ovens – Stoves and ovens can cause fires and emit dangerous carbon monoxide fumes. 
  • Space heaters – Space heaters pose a fire hazard. They can easily cause fires when they are near flammable materials. They can also release unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, which can lead to poisoning or even death. 
  • Countertop appliances – Toasters, microwaves, and other countertop appliances can also cause fires. They may also have electrical issues that can cause electrocution or sharp pieces that can cut unsuspecting consumers. 

Regardless of the type of injury, it is important for individuals who suffer defective product injuries to seek medical attention immediately so their injuries can be promptly and properly diagnosed and documented. 

What Happens if an Electrical Appliance Is Faulty? 

If an electrical appliance is faulty, there is a risk that it can cause serious injuries or even deaths. Faulty wiring poses a serious hazard for electrocution. Faulty appliances can also catch fire, potentially injuring their operator as well as others in the building in which a fire breaks out. 

Manufacturers that have made appliances that are unsafe to use, or components that will pose a hazard during normal use, may be held responsible for the resulting injuries. They can potentially be ordered to pay compensation in a product liability case for the harm their defective products have caused, such as:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Permanent disabilities, disfigurement, and scarring 

How To Deal With Faulty Appliances

If you notice that your appliance is faulty, stop using it immediately. Keep the item and all of its packaging, instruction manuals, and other information that came with the product. 

An experienced product liability lawyer from Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer may be able to evaluate your situation and explain whether you have a valid claim under a legal theory of strict liability, negligence, or breach of warranty. Product liability attorneys’ years of preparation help put them in a position to guide clients through the process of filing their claims. A faulty appliance lawyer may also be able to advocate for a client’s interests while the injured individual focuses on making a full recovery.

What Are the Dangers of the Wrong Use of Appliances?

Not using appliances appropriately according to the manufacturer’s instructions can be dangerous. Operator error can potentially cause injuries to the consumer and others nearby. Additionally, the victim may be limited in their ability to recover compensation from the manufacturer. This is because product liability cases are generally limited to situations in which the product was used as designed. If the consumer used the appliance in a way that had not been considered by the manufacturer, the manufacturer may not have been able to foresee the injury and may not be legally responsible for the injury. 

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer To Learn More

Faulty appliances pose serious risks to consumers. When manufacturers do not safely manufacture, design, or market these products and consumers are injured as a result, the companies who put dangerous products on the market should be held accountable for the harm their negligence has caused. If you have been injured by a faulty appliance, consider contacting Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer at (802) 457-4848. You can schedule a free case review to discuss your legal rights and options with an experienced product liability lawyer.