The first vaping-related illness in Oklahoma may only be the first of many more to come.
A Tulsa County teenager under 18, whose name was not released, is the Sooner State’s first victim of a vaping-related pulmonary illness, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Some vaping victims use black market devices which utilize THC (marijuana). Other victims use commercially-available products which superheat liquid nicotine and transform it into vapor. Either way, state hospitals are legally required to report such cases to the Department of Health.
So far, the vaping epidemic in the United States has killed12 people and seriously injured hundreds of other victims.
The Dangers of Vaping
JUUL and other E-Cigarette makers market their products as a safe, or at least safer, alternative to combustible cigarettes. That is usually not true, especially if the victim has a vulnerable immune system or a pre-existing condition.
E-Cigarette vapor contains trace amounts of heavy metals. These substances linger in the body and cause many problems as the body tries in vain to expel the product. Some heavy metals in vapes include:
- Tin, and
These substances cause metallosis, or metal poisoning. Metallosis is a serious infection. The exact symptoms vary according to the type of metal. For example, lead has been conclusively linked to cognitive development issues, such as memory loss. Cadmium poisoning often causes extremely high fevers and breathing problems.
Treatment is available, but once these toxins enter the body, they are difficult to eliminate. A Ponca City personal injury attorney can connect vaping victims with the medical doctors they need, often at no upfront cost.
Your Claim for Damages
As mentioned, metallosis is especially a problem for people with pre-existing conditions. Generally, full compensation is available in these cases because of the eggshell skull rule.
Product manufacturers and insurance companies cannot use a weak immune system, or other such deficiency, as an excuse to reduce needed financial compensation in these cases. Instead, these tortfeasors (negligent actors) must take victims as they find them.
Children under 18 often use E-Cigarettes, and these individuals often have less-developed immune systems than adults.
Typically, product makers are strictly liable for the damages their defective products cause. At this stage of the trial, it does not matter how careful, or how careless, the company was. Instead, victim/plaintiffs must only establish a connection between the product and their damages as well as one of the following defects:
- Design Defect: Some E-Cigarettes were defectively designed. The tubes and/or batteries have high metal content, and once heated, the metals escape into the vapor, which the victim then deeply inhales.
- Manufacturing Defect: Other E-Cigarettes were properly designed. But the manufacturers used cheap materials during the production process. As a result, what was a safe product became dangerous.
Corporate misconduct is highly relevant in the damages portion of a trial. If there is evidence that the company intentionally disregarded a known risk, Kay County jurors may award additional punitive damages. These damages punish the tortfeasor and deter future misconduct.
Punitive damages are available in addition to compensatory damages for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Contact a Tenacious Lawyer
Vaping products may cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Ponca City, contact BDIW Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.