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Pressure Cooker Explosion Lawsuits

Pressure cookers have been used for decades in kitchens around the country to cook healthy, whole food quickly and efficiently. Home chefs love the fact that they can make nutritious meals that taste succulent and juicy in half the time it usually takes with other cooking methods.

Because the cookers use hot steam and high pressures, however, they can be dangerous, particularly if the sealed lid is opened before all the pressure is released. Modern-day designs come with several safety features, including “smart” lids that are supposed to stay locked until it’s safe to open them, which has made these cookers even more appealing for families.

Some of the cookers, however, haven’t performed as expected. One woman, for example, filed a pressure cooker lawsuit in Philadelphia after being seriously injured when cooking a meal. She purchased a Wolfgang Puck pressure cooker from the HSN home shopping network, and when she used it, the lid blew off suddenly and sprayed the scalding contents across her chest and face. She suffered first and second-degree burns.

More recently, a group of six plaintiffs filed a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL lawsuit in Pennsylvania, stating that Tristar sells products that have serious and dangerous defects. All six say that while they were using the cookers under normal operating conditions, the machines exploded, leaving them with serious burn injuries.

The Pittsburgh lawyers at Chaffin Luhana are currently investigating cases in which pressure cookers caused serious burns and other injuries. If you or a loved one was harmed by one of these cookers, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover damages.

What is a Pressure Cooker?

A pressure cooker is simply a cooking pot with a sealed lid that uses steam pressure to cook food quickly. Once the lid is locked down and sealed, the pot heats up, and the liquid inside forms steam, which also builds pressure. The combination of high heat and pressure penetrates food more quickly while retaining moisture and flavor. Meats, in particular, often turn out more tender and juicy in pressure cookers.

How a Pressure Cooker Works

The first pressure cooker was invented in the 1600s, when Frenchman Denis Papin called it the “Digester,” but it wasn’t until the 1900s that the cookers became popular in the U.S. In 1939, the “Presto” pressure cooker appeared on the market, and more homemakers became aware of this new, fast way to cook meals. The dangers were there, though, so manufacturers began to develop safety features that would prevent the cookers from being opened unless the pressure was safely dissipated.

Lids now have locks that are activated before the pressure builds, for example, and the locks are supposed to remain engaged until the pressure is released. Many cookers have steam release valves, as well, and gauges to help users see when the pots are safe to open.

Some consumers have found that these features don’t work as expected, however, with dangerous consequences.

Pressure Cookers Exploding and Causing Serious Injuries

Consumer advocacy website “ConsumerWatch.com” states that pressure cookers produce “intense pressure and steam, resulting in a high risk of steam burns, pot contact burns, splashed or spilled hot liquids and cooker explosion.” They add that on top of these inherent risks, many pots have been recalled over the years because of defects that violate the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The most common defects in pressure cookers are:

  • inadequate cooking pot lid seals that allow spilling and explosions,
  • faulty cooker gaskets that allow premature opening under high pressure, and
  • inadequate steam venting.

Pressure Cooker Defects

All of these defects can lead to dangerous explosions and serious burn injuries. In 2015, for example, a two-year-old girl was severely burned when a pressure cooker exploded near her. Her grandmother was using the cooker to make the evening meal and was bathing the young child in the kitchen sink, because she was unable to stoop down to use the bathtub. The cooker overflowed and spewed out steam and liquid, causing second and third-degree burns on 60 percent of the toddler’s body.

There are many similar stories. A Seattle woman filed a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker lawsuit in 2017, saying that the product exploded while she was trying to make stew for her family. She read the manual for the product before using it, and when she heard it making strange steaming noises, she unplugged it and let it sit. Later, when she found the lid was no longer locked (as it would be in the safety position), she tried to move the lid back to its locked position, but the contents exploded, sending the lid flying and causing her second-degree burns on her chest, abdomen, and thighs.

Even overseas people have had trouble with these cookers. In 2017, a Northern Ireland woman stated she was almost blinded when a pressure cooker exploded in her face. She was making soup and had used a wooden spoon to slide the vent open to release steam, but when she did that, the pot exploded, dumping scalding soup all over her. She told the Belfast Telegraph that if she hadn’t been wearing her glasses, she would have lost her vision.

Another couple filed a Maxi-Matic pressure cooker lawsuit in 2015, stating that they bought the device from Kohl’s. The wife was preparing chicken broth in the cooker, as she had several times before, when she saw “more steam than was normal” coming from the exhaust valve. Everything seemed to be in order, so she started walking away when the cooker exploded, covering her with hot water and steam, leaving her with second and third-degree burns.

These individuals and more claim that the manufacturers of these cookers have made defective products that allow scalding food and liquids to erupt without warning. They add that the safety features do not work as they’re supposed to and that the instruction manuals can be flat-out wrong.

Many pressure cookers have been recalled for malfunctioning parts or defects over the years, but many others are still being sold even after consumers have reported problems and explosions.

Brands of Pressure Cookers Associated with Recalls or Injuries

The following brands of pressure cookers have been linked with injuries, or have been recalled because of defects. Many of the recalls were implemented after consumers were injured. In 2006, for example, QVC recalled 900 Welbilt cookers after the company received 37 reports of serious burns, including four third-degree burns. In 2007, Bella Cucina recalled 8,300 cookers after eight reports of consumer burn injuries.

Other pressure cookers not included on this list may also contain defects that could lead to eruptions and burns.

  • Tristar
  • Blusmart
  • Breville
  • Bella Cucina
  • Crofton
  • Elite Bistro
  • Ultrex
  • Welbilt
  • ALDI
  • Cook’s Essentials
  • Cuisinart
  • Instant Pot
  • Manttra
  • Nuwave
  • Maxi-Matic
  • Prestige
  • QVC Electric Pressure Cooker
  • Tabletops Unlimited
  • Wolfgang Puck
  • Vasconia Stove Top (Lifetime Brands)

Types of Injuries Associated with Pressure Cooker Explosions

When a pressure cooker explodes, the following injuries may result:

  • Burns, ranging from mild to very severe
  • Scalds
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Bleeding
  • Eye injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Pressure Cooker Lawsuits

Several pressure cooker manufacturers, including Wolfgang Puck, Maxi-Matic, and Tristar, are already defending pressure cooker lawsuits in courts around the country. But there may be many more injured consumers that may be eligible to file similar lawsuits. Some cases have already been settled out of court for undisclosed amounts.

The attorneys at Chaffin Luhana are actively investigating potential pressure cooker lawsuits. Consumers in the Pittsburgh and Ohio Valley areas who have used these products and then experienced serious burns, scalds, or other serious injuries may be able to recover damages in a pressure cooker lawsuit. Call today for a free case evaluation at 1-888-316-2311.

how not to be a lawyer

according to eric t. chaffin

“My father was a union witness at an arbitration in a steel mill. After the hearing, my father, dressed in blue jeans and a sweatshirt, stuck out his hand to shake hands with the company’s lawyer. The lawyer refused. The lawyer was not upset because my dad got the best of him but because he frowned upon working class people. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. My dad used this story to remind me to respect others, to remember where I came from and as an example of how not to conduct myself as a lawyer.”

eric t. chaffin

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