Did You Get a Defective Pressure Cooker?

Did You Get a Defective Pressure Cooker? In this age of speed, maximum efficiency, and a desire for high quality, few kitchen tools are more suited to home cooks than the modern electric pressure cooker.

Early pressure cookers from the 1950s featured a single, weighted “jiggler” valve to regulate and release pressure and emitted a rattling noise while steam escaped. Unfortunately, this value could easily get clogged with debris, and as pressure rose inside the cooker, the gasket would blow, allowing hot water and steam to spew from the top, or worst-case scenario, the lid would fly off, spraying the pot’s contents all over the kitchen.

However, modern “third-generation” pressure cookers (also known as instant pots) have come a long way in terms of user-friendliness. Most have an electric heat source that maintains proper pressure while the cooker is in use and feature digital timers, multiple valves, dual pressure regulators, and spring-loaded lid locks. The more intricate models include digital controllers, smart programming, and delayed cooking functionality, all major upgrades to the rudimentary designs of the past.

As a result of these improvements, U.S. consumers spent $51.48 million on electric pressure cookers in 2019, a 16 percent increase over 2010. However, , nearly one million Crock-Pot Multi-Cookers were recalled in 2020 due to potential burn risk.

How does a pressure cooker work?

A pressure cooker works by trapping the steam generated as the contents contained in its sealed chamber are heated. As the steam builds, the internal pressure increases, driving the temperature inside the cooker beyond the boiling point of water (212°F). The higher temperature generally shortens cooking times, efficiently extracts flavor from foods due to a lack of evaporation, causes the contents to go relatively undisturbed since the liquid inside never boils – all without burning the food.

Although modern kitchen appliances are generally safer now than they ever have been, a defect in the product design or manufacturing process can put lives at risk. While up-to-date pressure cookers are typically considered safe to use, they can still be prone to failure due to defects in the lid or locking systems. These defects allow them to open before they are fully depressurized, subjecting users to risks of burns and scalding injuries and prompting them to file defective product lawsuits. Here are some recent examples:

  • In 2021, a New York woman filed a lawsuit against Zavor America Inc. alleging that she suffered burns when herFagor EZ Lock Pressure Cooker exploded, causing scalding hot contents to cover her body. The lawsuit claims that even with all the product’s safety features, the lid can still be removed when heat, steam, and pressure build up inside.
  • A Louisiana woman filed an injury lawsuit after she was scalded and burned when her Ninja Foodi pressure cooker malfunctioned in 2020. According to the complaint, the product advertises 14 different safety features to prevent an explosion.
  • Numerous lawsuits have been filed against NuWave LLC, claiming that the NuWave 6Q Nutri-Pot 6Q Digital Pressure Cooker has a design flaw that allows consumer to open the lid of the cooker when the pressure is high enough to cause injury. Due to this defect, multiple plaintiffs allege that they sustained injuries from scalding liquids ejected from the pressure cooker.

The primary function of pressure cooker safety features is to prevent the lid from opening when the liquid contents of the pot are pressurized. However, defects in these features can have dangerous consequences.

Pressure cooker defects can cause serious injuries

A pressure cooker generates pressure equivalent to a forcefully shaken can of soda; however, instead of cold or lukewarm soda, a pressure cooker contains scalding hot liquid. When a pressure cooker malfunctions while in use, scalding steam and liquids can splatter onto the hands, arms, chests, neck, and faces of consumers who remove the defective lid before the cooker depressurizes. These burns can be severe enough to cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. Some of the pressure cooker defects that might result in severe and even permanent injuries include:

  • Manufacturing flaws. A pressure cooker made from weak or defective materials can increase the risk of an explosion, even when the product is being used according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • Improper design. If a pressure cooker’s seal is improperly designed, the hot contents of the cooker could spill out and cause injury.
  • Insufficient insulation. If a pressure cooker is not sufficiently insulated, contact could lead to electric shock injuries for the user.

Most pressure cooker injuries are second and third degrees burns resulting from explosion, hot liquid spills, and steam. These injuries frequently result in scalding, hospital or emergency room visits, surgery, skin grafts, and scarring.

What should I do if I’m injured by a defective pressure cooker?

If you suffered injuries related to the use of a pressure cooker, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Stop using the pressure cooker, but do not throw it away, as it could provide valuable evidence necessary to document your injury. An experienced Richmond personal injury attorney will require the opportunity to examine the pressure cooker for defects and include it as part of a potential legal claim.

What damages can I seek for pressure cooker injuries?

A pressure cooker injury lawsuit can help victims recover damages for:

  • Medical expenses, present and future
  • Lost wages, present and future
  • Diminished earning capacity, present and future
  • Property damage costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

If you have suffered serious injuries from a defective pressure cooker, you do not have to go it alone. An experienced Richmond defective product attorney will document your injuries, gather strong evidence, build a persuasive case, and help you recover fair damages that will fully compensate you for your injuries, now and in the future.

Phelan Petty recently secured a sizeable confidential settlement for burns on the chest and arms related to a defective pressure cooker injury, and we will pursue justice for you too. If you would like a free case evaluation regarding an injury related to a pressure cooker accident, one of our experienced, Richmond product liability attorneys can help. Call Phelan Petty or fill out our contact form to request an appointment today.