Products Liability Attorney in Denver, Colorado

What is your experience in handling electric blanket fire and thermal burn injury cases?

Denver, CO personal injury lawyer George McLaughlin talks about his experience in handling electric blanket fire and thermal burn injury cases.

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00:00
[Music]
00:04
i’ve received my first electric blanket
00:07
fire case
00:08
back in the late 1980s
00:12
and it really came to my firm at the
00:15
time
00:17
because the one of my partners was
00:19
handling the estate of a woman who had
00:21
died in a fire
00:22
in her home and he recognized that
00:27
this shouldn’t have happened and asked
00:29
me to take a look at
00:30
the product liability side of the case
00:33
that was the first
00:34
electric blanket fire case that i got
00:36
involved in
00:37
it turned out that the product was made
00:39
by a well-known american
00:42
appliance manufacturer sunbeam sunbeam’s
00:45
been around for
00:46
decades they make lots of different
00:48
kinds of appliances from
00:49
hair dryers to mixers and blenders to
00:52
electric blankets and electric blankets
00:54
has been one of their
00:56
big product sellers over the last many
00:59
decades
01:00
well sunbeam came up with a new
01:03
technology
01:04
for electric blankets that had a
01:08
a very specialized kind of heating
01:10
element doesn’t heat like
01:12
the coils in an electric dryer if you
01:15
look at
01:16
inside a hair dryer you see these little
01:19
metal coils
01:20
that’s not how modern electric blankets
01:23
heat
01:23
they heat with a technology a very high
01:26
tech
01:28
heating element called a positive
01:29
temperature coefficient ptc
01:32
for short heating element the ptc
01:35
heating element
01:36
has two little copper conductors that
01:38
run through it
01:40
and then it’s covered with a black
01:43
plastic material that has carbon
01:46
embedded in it very
01:47
confidential proprietary
01:51
process to make it but it’s the
01:54
plastic material that produces the heat
01:57
not the copper wires the problem with
02:00
the product was
02:01
is that if the copper wires inside that
02:04
little tiny piece of plastic wire
02:06
break you can get a tiny electrical arc
02:10
plastic is made from petroleum products
02:14
you expose this plastic
02:17
to an electrical arc and it can
02:21
catch fire just like that sunbeam had a
02:24
safety circuit
02:26
for many many years that in some
02:28
circumstances
02:29
just didn’t work you would get a broken
02:31
wire inside the electric blanket
02:34
and the safety circuit didn’t always
02:35
detect the broken wire and a fire would
02:38
occur
02:38
in the early 2000s sunbeam
02:41
developed a better safety circuit the
02:45
wire’s still the same
02:46
the same risk still exists but
02:49
we don’t see so many fires anymore i
02:52
used to
02:53
have in my caseload 10 to
02:56
25 electric blanket fires at any one
02:59
time and that went on for
03:00
a decade or so now i only occasionally
03:04
see an electric blanket fire
03:06
what i’m seeing more of these days are
03:08
people who get injured
03:10
at burn injury just by sleeping with the
03:12
product they wake up
03:13
and they have a burn on on their face
03:16
it’s inexplicable you know how did i get
03:18
burned i
03:19
went to sleep woke up now i’ve got marks
03:22
on my face or on my hip or on my leg
03:25
these overheat injuries we call them
03:27
thermal burns that are not associated
03:29
with a fire
03:31
are relatively new even though this
03:33
product has been around for
03:35
all these years you know going back to
03:37
the 1980 early 1980s
03:40
with this particular heating element i
03:43
hardly ever saw
03:45
thermal burn injury now i hardly ever
03:47
see the fires
03:48
still see a few here and there but i see
03:51
more
03:52
thermal burn injuries

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