Can You Receive Compensation for Vaping-Related Injury?
To date, vaping is linked to almost 50 deaths and more than 2,000 cases of lung injuries throughout the country. Most incidents affected adults and teens, with only a small number of older adults reporting issues. As e-cigarettes continue to gain popularity, we can expect to see more people suffering injuries connected to vaping and potentially more lawsuits.
Vaping Injury Lawsuits
Lawsuits range from claims that e-cigarettes lead to addiction to damage to the lungs and even wrongful death. There are also some lawsuits claiming that e-cigarette companies specifically target minors with their advertising.
Many of the lawsuits seeking damages due to the addictive nature of vaping claim that consumers were unaware of the high content of in vape fluids. One study even found that many teenagers were unaware vape fluids contained nicotine at all. Other consumers say that companies promoted nicotine use or failed to make it clear to users that e-cigarette fluid is more potent and addictive than tobacco. In fact, companies have often positioned their products as a safer alternative to cigarettes or a way to give up smoking.
In lawsuits claiming that e-cigarettes caused injury to the lungs or another part of the body, the argument tends to be that the products were either defective or too dangerous.
Finally, lawsuits that claim e-cigarette companies are targeting minors focus on the use of social media campaigns, flavors and packaging that appeal to adolescents, and ads that present vaping as fun. Again, marketing presents vaping as a safer option than tobacco.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Vaping Cause?
An indication that you have a vaping-related injury or pulmonary disease caused by the use of e-cigarettes includes signs and symptoms like difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, weight loss, fatigue, fever, and gastrointestinal illness (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain). The symptoms may progress gradually or they may appear suddenly.
Current lawsuits claim that vaping causes a variety of health conditions, such as lung injuries, seizures, several types of pneumonia, and hemorrhagic stroke — a type of stroke characterized by bleeding in the brain rather than a blood clot. Specifically, there is a risk of consumers developing e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and popcorn lung.
Most of the people who have suffered seizures have been teens and young adults. Since seizures are already known to be a side effect of nicotine toxicity, it’s plausible that this is linked to vaping.
Vaping can increase the risk of several types of pneumonia, including bacterial pneumonia due to respiratory infection. Severe pneumonia can cause a lung to collapse.
EVALI is a type of inflammation of the lungs as a response to inhalation of certain substances. EVALI can manifest itself as pneumonia or damage to the air sacs, depending on the substances present in the vape fluid. There is no way to test directly for the condition, but a medical professional can give you a diagnosis according to your symptoms.
Popcorn lung is a condition where the smallest airways of the lungs (the bronchioles) become inflamed. This is caused by exposure to diacetyl — a chemical that adds a buttery flavor to foods and that is also present in some vaping fluids. Inhalation of diacetyl for long amounts of time can result in inflammation of the airways leading to scarring. It is possible to slow the buildup of scars, but the condition is irreversible.
COPD is often linked to smoking tobacco, but it can also occur when a person is exposed to an environment with particles in the air. At least one study has found a link between e-cigarettes and COPD. It appears that the vapor stops the immune cells in the lungs from functioning properly and leads to inflammation, which could increase the risk of COPD.
Finally, consumers have reported suffering serious burns and scarring from fires and explosions when using defective vaping products. It appears that at least two people have died due to injuries linked to malfunctioning batteries and chargers.
Vape Juice Ingredients
One reason e-cigarettes can cause such a range of health problems is that the ingredients in vape juice differ from one product to another. Flavored products tend to contain the most ingredients, some of which have even been linked to deaths.
Several lawsuits claim vitamin E acetate in vape juice is the cause of injuries and deaths. Whereas the substance is a dietary supplement and has benefits for the skin, it can be toxic for the lungs when inhaled. The substance is used in some types of vape juice as a thickening agent, particularly in THC-infused products.
Should You File a Lawsuit?
You are unlikely to succeed in a lawsuit against an e-cigarette company for addiction, even in the case a teenager developed a nicotine addiction at a young age. However, it may be worthwhile suing if you’ve suffered an injury as a result of using vaping products. Critics of the vaping industry say that e-cigarette companies failed to provide adequate warnings to protect consumers from using their products.
A successful lawsuit may entitle you to medical expenses (including the cost of prescription drugs), lost wages and lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. It is important to keep a record of all your bills and other documentation associated with your injury. In addition, do not communicate directly with the e-cigarette company.
If you have been injured in a car accident and need an attorney you should call one now. Remember to get an expert personal injury attorney in Elizabethtown KY if you need one. There are currently multiple active class actions and individual personal injury lawsuits against several e-cigarette companies. If you have suffered an injury, been hospitalized, or lost a family member due to a vaping injury, your best course of action is to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney who can advise you on the next steps.
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