A Florida woman was cooking beans and rice in a pressure cooker and was allegedly burned to parts of her body when a pressure cooker she was using exploded. The woman who lives in a Miami suburb was cooking on May 2, 2017, when the unit exploded. Nearby residentsheard the woman’s screams from outside the house. A neighbor said that she called for assistance and got water and put ice on the woman to help sooth her burns. The woman was flown to a hospital by helicopter after the incident.
The victim was not the first to suffer burns when a pressure cooker exploded without warning. Pressure cookers are sealed pots that transform liquid into steam when heated. This allows food to cook more rapidly as steam pressure increases and the water’s boiling point rises. The result is that pressure and temperatures in the cookers run extremely high.
Another Florida woman allegedly suffered second-degree burns on her hands, arms, and chest when a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL exploded without warning as she was cooking dinner. The woman said that when she turned to remove the lid to open the pot, the contents allegedly gushed out.
In addition, another Florida couple experienced a Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL exploding in October 2014. The husband allegedly suffered severe burns when he tried to open the pressure cooker and the contents exploded, pouring extremely hot liquid all over him. According to his report, the man suffered second-degree burns to his arms, reaching from his elbows to his fingertips. The wife, who also suffered injuries less serious than her husband’s, remarked that he burned his arms completely, and when his clothes were removed, his leg was burned, as well.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience and success in representing clients in product liability litigation. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer questions for anyone seeking legal information for a potential lawsuit.
Reports by Consumers
Numerous incidents have been reported by consumers of injuries or occurrences with exploding pressure cookers. These were documented on the consumer product safety information database website of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These consumer complaints have raised safety concerns involving top-selling pressure cookers including products manufactured by Fagor America, Tabletops Unlimited, Maxi-Matic, and Tristar Products, the maker of the “As Seen on TV” Power Pressure Cooker XL. There have not been recalls to date on any of these pressure cookers.
Pressure Cooker Lawsuits
In 2015, a couple from Texas filed a lawsuit against Tristar Products after the Tristar Power Cooker they purchased allegedly exploded the first time it was used. The cook suffered extensive and severe burns. In another 2015 lawsuit, a Florida couple filed a lawsuit when their Tristar Power Pressure Cooker XL allegedly exploded when the cook opened the lid. Despite the Tristar unit being marketed with numerous safety features that include a safety check which is designed to prevent the unit from being opened prematurely, these features did not prevent the product from exploding.
In 2016, Tristar faced a proposed class action lawsuit in Ohio involving the Power Pressure Cooker XL with claims of a serious and dangerous design defect that may result in severe and painful personal injury. The plaintiff alleges that she turned the pressure release valve to allow the pressure and steam to escape and waited fifteen minutes until the valve showed that there was no pressure left inside the pot. When she opened the lid, she experienced boiling hot soup spraying all over her. The woman maintained she suffered second-degree burns to her body and first-degree burns to her left hand and to her lips.
Appliance manufacturer, Breville recalled over 35,000 of its 6-quart capacity Fast Slow Cookers in 2015, after receiving reports by consumers of a defective sealing gasket that may be incorrectly inserted upside down on the lid. This may allow the cooker’s built-up pressure to release without warning. The recall notice said the defective gasket posed “a risk of burns to the user or consumers nearby.”
Suspected Causes of Pressure Cooker Explosions
It is thought that some pressure cookers contain a defective pressure release valve that does not indicate accurately that the built-up pressure has escaped the appliance, allowing consumers to open the lid before it is safe. The result is consumers have alleged the food inside the pressure cookers blew up or exploded out, in some cases where the units are unplugged, vented properly, and opened without the use of force.