Are Electric Blankets Still Dangerous?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Electric blankets and heating pads have long presented injury risks to their users, especially the older products. Despite newer models being much safer, defects still occur with these products that can make them unsafe. In fact, attorney George McLaughlin alone has litigated over 75 electric blanket lawsuits. While many of these products present a cozy way to stay warm in the colder months, it is important to first research the specific product you intend on purchasing and take the necessary precautions to avoid leaving a child, elderly person, or person experiencing sensory limitations with an electric blanket for extended periods of time.
According to the Point Lookout Lido Fire Department, on average 5,000 house fires are thought to be caused by electric blankets every year, producing injuries and accidents including but not limited to:
- Heat contact
- Electrical burns
- Fire burns
- Smoke inhalation
Common causes of electric blanket malfunctions include:
- Manufacturing defects: Manufacturing defects could include anything from faulty wiring to broken control units. While it is not the most common cause of electric blanket fires, it is not unheard of.
- Improper use: This includes allowing an at-risk person to use an electric blanket unsupervised, using the blanket for prolonged periods of time, and/or using the blanket for purposes the design was not intended for. This also includes leaving the electric blanket or heating pad plugged in while not in use.
- Wear and tear: This is why so many of the older electric blankets have proven to pose electrical and fire hazards. Over time, the mechanisms inside the electric blankets can break down, fray, and otherwise become damaged, causing the blanket to malfunction and potentially injure a consumer.
The most common cause of electric blanket accidents and injuries appears to be the age of the product. According to State Farm, it is believed that 99% of all accidents related to electric blankets and heating pads occur when the product is 10 or more years old. If you have an electric blanket or similar product in your home, it’s a good idea to find out when the product was made and consider replacing it with a new, safer model.
Many modern electric blankets have an automatic shut-off that prevents the product from overheating.
The majority of recently produced electric blankets and heating pads are much safer than their older counterparts, but not entirely without risks. It is essential to read and adhere to the instructions and safety warnings that accompany these and any other products used to conduct heat. When injuries, property damage, and medical bills occur as a result of electric blanket injuries, you might have grounds to file a product liability case. In these situations, the injured party should not be alone in handling the often exorbitant expenses that go with recovering from one of these incidences. If you or a loved one were injured by an electric blanket or heating pad regardless of the age of the product, seek legal counsel from a product liability attorney to discuss your eligibility for compensation. The majority of these attorneys work on contingency and offer free consultations, so don’t wait to seek help.