Defective Space Heaters and Product Liability

Defective Space Heaters and Product LiabilityOne thing we can all agree on is that Chicago is cold. Extremely, unfairly, painfully cold in the winter months, with a bitter bite that makes everything somehow frustrating and too slow. While many of us may have adapted to the bitter temperatures, it is not without the help of certain technologies making our lives just a little bit more comfortable. Heated blankets, hot showers, and electric kettles are all great and helpful, but the real and true life-saver of the cold is the space heater. Whether it is a portable, small thing tucked in the corner of your room or a pseudo-fireplace with fake flames but real heat, space heaters are true friends of Chicagoans.

At least, they are in theory. Here at Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers, we have spoken about the dangers of space heaters before, but what happens to those impacted by it? What can they do if their home burns down? What can you do?

The dangers of a defective or improperly installed space heater

Any man-made product can have some sort of flaw or defect, even if it is mass-produced. Those machines are man-made too, after all. Space heaters, however, have a habit of failing in horrifically dangerous ways with tragic results. Not only that, but there is no one kind more prone to this than any other. All space heaters share the same reputation for being silent killers — or ticking time-bombs.

Last year, we discussed the dangers of space heaters after one took the lives of a mother and her four children. While the “defect” may happen at any point in the process (from design to manufacturing to installation to user maintenance), they all seem to end in either a deadly blaze or a lethal release of carbon monoxide. It seems the only difference between heaters is which route the defect will take it.

Now, typically, space heaters do not have defects. That is the good news. However, they are still responsible for thousands of fires every year because of one simple thing — user error. Manufacturers and authorities alike are aware of the inherent dangers of space heaters, as not all of them are avoidable, and therefore the products usually come with explicit warnings and instructions to avoid a deadly leak or fire. It is an unfortunate truth that people who do not read these warnings may accidentally set their own homes on fire. In fact, because of this, our very own Chicago officers release tips on how to safely operate space heaters to try and avoid more incidents.

If you know you did everything right and a fire still broke out that injured you and your property, you do not have to assume that, just because of the commonality of user error, you are at fault. But manufacturers and corporations will do everything in their power to avoid taking responsibility, so you should understand how to take them on — and make sure not to do it alone.

Filing your Chicago product liability claim

They do not make it easy to hold corporations and product manufacturers accountable, but it is possible. Not only is it possible, but it is worth it to win crucial and deserved compensation for your injuries and any damaged property. Depending on the severity of either, costs for medical bills and repairs can set you back thousands upon thousands of dollars, on top of the physical toll of your recovery.

For your product liability claim, you have to prove the following:

  • The product must have an unreasonably dangerous defect.
  • The defect must be what caused the injuries while you were using the product.
  • The defect must have been created during the design stage, the manufacture stage, or the shipping stage.

Amongst other things, your attorney will look through the details of your case with you to see how, exactly, the product counts as defective. For example, it could be made correctly but if the manufacturer failed to warn its users of a possible hazard; that would still be the basis of a product liability claim (failure to warn). In a similar vein, if the design of the product is unreasonably dangerous, the warnings on it do not make much of a difference, and they would still be liable (design flaw). If the design is good and the warnings are right, but something went awry during production, the manufacturer can still be held accountable (manufacturing defect).

When it comes to proving you were using the product for its intended purpose, that is just to rule out user error as a possibility. If the space heater told you explicitly not to plug it into a power strip and you did regardless, causing a fire, then unfortunately the manufacturer would not be liable for that.

In all, product liability can be complicated and stressful. If you have been injured in a fire caused by a defective space heater, we are sure starting a long, drawn-out lawsuit is the last thing you want to do. However, product liability cases for electrical products are extremely common — because they are possible, and because they are worth it. Choosing the right personal injury attorney will allow you to relax a bit further and focus more on your own recovery and losses while they work to build and present your case.

At Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers, our Chicago product liability attorneys work with experts to determine defects, flaws, and other causes of liability to make sure your case is credible as possible. We keep you in the loop and involved every step of the way without forcing you to face the brunt of corporate lawyers. If you have been injured due to a defective space heater and your property has been damaged by the fire, do not wait to get started. Call us today at 312-600-9585 or use our contact form.