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We do love our electric blankets for one good reason—especially as many hunker down for cold winter weather. They keep us warm. The question, is do they keep us safe? And that remains to be seen as more and more lawsuits continue to pile up as a result of the damage allegedly caused by Sunbeam Electric Blankets.
Interestingly enough, it’s not necessarily about how fires start (although that is potentially a costlier issue), but just how hot these blankets can get, and there’s a reason for it. The general manufacturing makeup of these blankets revolves around copper wiring. They’re what generate the heat we feel in the blanket. What’s also important is the fact that these copper wires are also surrounded by plastic, which typically doesn’t conduct electricity. Undoubtedly the reason for that is to ensure no electrocutions occur. However, there is something manufacturers never took into account: carbon.
It is the essential ingredient for at the very least partial conductivity. That means as electricity continues to cycle through these blankets, the electrons will then pass through the plastic because of the carbon and continue heating the blankets beyond the norm, which in many cases wouldn’t be an issue until a copper wire breaks.
What happens when a copper wire breaks? It creates an arc, converting that solid carbon into hydrogen gas, which can be flammable given the right conditions. Heat can accomplish that pretty easily given the utilization of the Sunbeam electric blanket; but again, it’s not so much the fire that one should worry about, but the heat.
Scientifically, anything more than 114 degrees could cause a burn injury. Given enough time, a Sunbeam Electric Blanket can actually reach a temperature of 150 degrees, so you see the point in all of the details—there is a concern.
The way it’s manufactured may be too much of a liability, and that explains the gravity and magnitude of lawsuit filing in this case. In fact, back in 2005, a king-sized Sunbeam electric blanket was connected to a house fire. There was a similar incident in 2008 when a blanket burned a woman’s hand, causing a part of her bed to go up in flames. In that same year, another woman received burns on more than 35% of her entire body, which the jury ruled that the blanket played a significant role. Both 2011 and 2013 saw similar lawsuits involving a Sunbeam electric blanket fire, the latter event resulting from a malfunction.
You deserve to take action. With clear information and details available, plus a case history already present, a pattern has been established. If the product had a role in causing the disaster, there’s liability involved. It would compel a company to take proper action in alleviating the issue, mandating recalls, and conducting research in finding alternatives for the product that would best adhere to safety guidelines. If you do have any questions, simply consult an attorney to consider your rights in the best possible way.
Written on behalf of George McLaughlin by AskTheLawyers.com
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