Each year, barbecue grills cause thousands of fires, and hundreds of injuries and deaths – some of which can be linked to defective grills. If you have been injured by a defective barbecue grill, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the manufacturer, the distributor, or the retailer.
Defects in Barbecue Grills
Barbecue grills, particularly those fueled by liquid propane gas, are a significant source of fires, explosions, injuries, deaths and property damage. From 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded, on average, to 8,900 home structure and outdoor fires involving grills each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And, each year, these fires result in an average of 10 deaths, 160 injuries and $118 million in direct property damage. The news media regularly reports on explosions caused by gas grills. In December 2012, ESPN sports anchor Hannah Storm was a high-profile victim one such incident. After the wind blew out the flame of her propane grill, the gas accumulated in the grill – even though the lid was up. When she attempted to re-ignite the grill, the gas became a fireball that resulted in second-degree burns on her face, neck, chest and hands.
Today, about 75 percent of home grills are gas-powered models, and gas-line leaks and breaks were the ignition source for one of every seven gas grill structure fires and made up more than one-quarter of the outside fires associated with gas grills.
A barbeque grill may have one or more manufacturing or design defect that could cause a death or injury. For example:
- A defective support design making the grill unstable
- A defective connection resulting in a gas leak
- A crack in the propane tank
- A defective regulator that does not control the flow of gas
- A broken or cracked hose
- Defective burner tubes
- Faulty ignition switch
- A defective hood that does not provide proper ventilation
Carbon monoxide poisoning is another injury caused by barbecue grills. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that between 2008-2012, charcoal or charcoal grills were responsible for an average of nine fatal CO poisonings a year.
Recalls of gas and propane grills since 2009 include:
- In September 2017, Saber recalled about 19,000 grills and 2,900 warranty parts and conversion kits because the LP regulator can allow gas to flow at a higher pressure than it should, which can cause a gas leak and flames to burst from the burner knobs.
- In December 2016, 4 Sizzle recalled around 1,700 promotional charcoal grills because the grills can catch on fire.
- In August 2013, Char-Broil recalled about 69,300 Patio Bistro gas grills in the United States because the single-burner propane gas grills have ignition problems causing them to ignite unexpectedly.
- In November 2012, Guandong Vanward Electric recalled 37,000 Master Forge Gas Grills because, if the grill is improperly assembled, the hose connecting the gas tank to the regulator can touch the burner box.
- In January 2012, Uni-O Industries recalled around 4,500 O-Grill portable gas grills because the regulator on the grill can leak gas.
- In December 2009, JCPenney Purchasing Corp. recalled about 5,600 Cooks Outdoor BBQ grills because the drip pan does not allow for sufficient drainage, creating a fire or burn risk.
Filing a Product Liability Suit Based on a Defective Barbecue Grill
If you are injured in an accident involving a defective barbecue grill, you may be able to file a suit against the manufacturer of the grill, the manufacturer of a defective part of the grill, the distributor, or the retailer. A product liability lawsuit involving a defective consumer product, such as a home grill, may be based on three types of defects:
- A design defect: A defect that is built into the inner workings and functions of the product. This occurs during the engineering and planning phase, long before the product is manufactured.
- A manufacturing defect: A defect that occurred during the production of the component parts or the assembly of the product.
- A marketing defect: A defect related to the manufacturer’s failure to provide adequate instructions on the proper and safe use of a product, adequate warnings against safety hazards of the product, or information about the safety risks associated with its use.
Your lawyer may pursue a defective product claim against a manufacturer, retailer or distributor of a defective barbecue grill based on one of three theories:
- Strict liability: When a product liability case is based on strict liability, you do not have to prove the manufacturer’s negligence. You must only prove the product was defective and that the defect caused your injury.
- Negligence: When a product liability case is based on negligence, you must prove the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer did not exercise the care that would be considered reasonable by other experts – in legal terms, the “standard of care.”
- Breach of warranty: When a product liability case is based on breach of warranty, you must prove that the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer violated an implied warranty — their assurances that a product is safe when it is used as it was intended.
Manufacturers, distributors and retailers may defend against these claims by arguing the following:
- The statute of limitation: Each state limits how long after suffering a product-related injury a consumer may file a product liability suit. These statutes of limitation vary, ranging from one to six years.
- The statute of repose: Each state limits how long after a product has been manufactured or sold that it can be considered defective. In other words, after a certain period, the law presumes the product is too old to be held liable for a defect. The statute of repose is usually a much longer period than the statute of limitations. It also varies by state, ranging from six to 20 years. Many states have a 10- or 12-year statute of repose.
- Misuse of a product: A manufacturer may argue that you did not use the oven in a proper manner.
- Alteration of a product: A manufacturer may argue that you modified the product.
You can recover compensation in a product liability suit such as your medical expenses, your lost wages, your lost earning capacity, and your pain and suffering. You can also be compensated for any property damage, such as the destruction of your home in a fire. In some cases, you can recover punitive damages, damages intended to punish the manufacturer for its conduct. You can file a wrongful death action if your spouse, child, or other relative is killed due to a defective barbecue grill.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a defective barbecue grill, call a defective barbecue injury lawyer at Newsome Melton at 888-808-5977 for a free consultation or make an appointment on our website.