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Can I Sue if I Was Injured by a Dangerous Space Heater?

January 12, 2024

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As we enter the winter season, especially considering the cold temperatures Cleveland can experience, the rising costs of oil and gas might prompt us to seek more economical ways to heat specific areas. Space heaters are a fantastic option for many families, but they aren’t without their drawbacks. 

Unfortunately, space heaters frequently contribute to potentially life-threatening incidents such as house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. However, with the help of a Cleveland product liability lawyer, victims of a defective space heater can receive proper guidance for their injury claims. 

What Are Space Heaters?

A space heater serves the purpose of warming rooms and confined spaces. This device is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. While most electric models require a nearby outlet, specific outdoor variants use natural gas or propane. When used properly, these heaters offer a safe and economical solution for maintaining warmth in spaces during colder seasons. 

Modern space heaters are equipped with safety features that automatically shut off in case of tipping or water detection. They can complement existing home heating systems or function independently in areas lacking built-in heating.

What Are the Dangers of Space Heaters?

Space heaters, while providing warmth, can pose various dangers, including:

  • Fire Hazard: Space heaters can cause fires if they come into contact with flammable materials like curtains, furniture, or bedding. This risk is especially high if the heater is left unattended.
  • Carbon Monoxide Emission: If not properly vented, fuel-burning space heaters can emit carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be lethal in high concentrations.
  • Electric Shock: Faulty wiring or damaged electric space heaters can pose a risk of electric shock. This danger is heightened when heaters are used with frayed cords or in wet conditions.
  • Risks to Children and Pets: Small children and pets can accidentally knock over or come into contact with a space heater, leading to burns or other injuries.

What Are the Common Types of Injuries Caused by Space Heaters?

Space heater fires can cause different injuries. Thermal burns and carbon monoxide poisoning are the most common and life-threatening. 

They can lead to third- and fourth-degree burns, which cause prolonged pain and potential complications. Beyond skin damage, these burns can extend to soft tissues, muscles, and nerves. Fourth degree burns especially pose a significant risk of infection and may lead to fatal outcomes. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning is another issue space heaters can cause. This is most likely with those using gas or kerosene. Carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas emitted while burning wood, gas, coal, or kerosene, can harm vital organs by impeding the body's oxygen utilization.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Blurry vision 

Recognizing these signs is crucial, prompting immediate evacuation to an open area. Adequate ventilation is essential for oxygen supply and to mitigate explosion and fire risks associated with carbon monoxide. 

Who Can Be Held Liable for Injuries Caused by Space Heaters?

Should you endure a burn or other fire-related injury from a faulty personal space heater, potential liability rests with the company responsible for selling or manufacturing the product. Certain products incorporate components from third-party manufacturers, allowing these entities to share liability if a defective part is linked to your injuries.

Initiating a claim against a manufacturer introduces complexity. These claims demand evidence of a defective design, absence of warnings, manufacturing defects, or the company's negligence as direct causes of your injuries. 

This challenge intensifies when dealing with sizable corporations with substantial resources to contest such claims. Because of the difficulty of winning defective product claims against big corporations, it's important to consider hiring a competent product liability lawyer. These attorneys can help determine liability and help you get maximum compensation.

Proving Liability for a Dangerous Space Heater

Liability is typically grounded in three legal concepts:

  • Defects: To establish liability, it must be demonstrated that the product had a defect. Additionally, this defect must be proven to have directly caused the injury or fatality.
  • Breach of Warranty: Product sellers generally warrant the safety of their products for their intended use.
  • Failure to Warn: Manufacturers are responsible for issuing warnings if there is a potential for injury, such as placing a space heater close to a bed.

In addition to pursuing a personal injury claim against any wrongdoers, homeowners and businesses also retain the right to file a claim against their insurance policies for property damages.

Business policies might encompass damages for lost profits and business interruption. If the insurance company engages in bad faith tactics, like denying valid claims or causing unjustified delays, a tort action for bad faith can be pursued.

Space Heater Injury? Get Help from a Personal Injury Lawyer.

Did you or a family member suffer injuries from a faulty space heater? If so, the seasoned Cleveland product liability lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy can provide clarity on your legal rights and pursue vigorous efforts to secure rightful compensation on your behalf.  With several years of dedicated service, our attorneys have consistently demonstrated a successful history of aiding victims of injuries. Contact us today for a consultation.

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