Kitchen appliances are not just large electronic tools we use in cooking and storing food — like ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers. The category also includes smaller appliances such as mixers, food processors, and blenders.

Types of Kitchen Appliance Accidents

Unfortunately, using any of these appliances increases the risk of kitchen accidents. And kitchen appliance accidents can be of several types, each resulting in injuries with the potential to be deadly.

Some of the most common types of kitchen appliance accidents include: (2)

  • Blender injuries — “More than 9,600 injuries occurred involving blenders,” says Consumer Reports. (3)
  • Pressure Cooker burns — Many manufacturers have issued recalls of their products due to injuries. Sunbeam recalled over 9,000 Crock-Pot pressure cookers. (4) Rena Ware recalled 700 Nutrex pressure cookers due to hazards from discharged steam. Breville recalled 35,600 Fast Slow Cookers due to a sealing gasket; inserting it incorrectly leads to a pressure release, with the potential for burns. (5) 
  • Stovetop fires and burns — “Ranges or cooktops were involved in 53 percent of the reported home cooking fires, 88 percent of cooking fire deaths, and 74 percent of cooking fire injuries,” according to the National Fire Protection Association. (6)
  • Food processor lacerations — These ”caused more than 21,000 injuries, including cuts from the blades.” (7)
  • Microwave oven burns — “More than 10,000 people were hurt using microwaves. Burns were most common,” says Consumer Reports. (8)
  • Ranges falling over — “Almost 40,000 people were injured from these appliances.” (9)

Causes of Kitchen Appliance Accidents

Understanding the reasons for kitchen appliance accidents is a first step in preventing them. Among the several causes are misuse, negligence, and product defects.

Misuse happens when you fail to operate a kitchen appliance safely or according to its written product directions. For example, leaving the kitchen while cooking something on a stovetop. 

Negligence happens when the manufacturer or seller of the kitchen appliance acts in a way disregarding your safety or life. (10) For instance, a manufacturer fails to ensure a product can be operated safely because the directions are poorly written or not included in the packaging. The manufacturer can be held negligent. 

Product defects occur when a product is flawed, meaning it is dangerous for its intended use. This can happen during either its design stage or during the manufacturing process. One example is when a manufacturer produces a pressure cooker with a faulty probe in its base. If it can conduct electricity, it can lead to electric shock. (11)

If you or someone you know was injured from a defective kitchen appliance, a lawsuit can help get the compensation you deserve.

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Defective Pressure Cookers

Some defects in products can be spotted right away, while others are harder to detect. However, there are similar defects among some kitchen appliances, such as pressure cookers and stovetops.

Some of the common defects in pressure cookers include: (12)

  • Steam discharges when cooking at low pressure.
  • Gaskets do not work properly.
  • Lids fly off during cooking.
  • Probes conduct electricity.

These defects can result in pressure cooker accidents with severe injuries. Some injuries you can suffer include:

  • Death.
  • Burns.
  • Amputation.
  • Electrical shock.
  • Cuts and lacerations.

The CPSC posts recalls of pressure cookers on its website; some of these notices date as far back as 2006. (13)

Oven and Stovetop Accidents

Other appliances associated with high numbers of injuries are the oven and stovetop. They have also been found to be defective. 

Common oven and stovetop appliance defects include: (14)

  • Broken control knobs.
  • Incorrect oven temperature readings.
  • Failure of control pad.
  • Faulty element or wiring.
  • Oven door jams. 
  • Oven or stovetop does not ignite or draw power.
  • Oven does not heat up.
  • Stovetop does not heat up.
  • Tipovers.

The risks for burns and electrical shock are distinctly possible in oven and stovetop accidents. (15) Also, crushing injuries are possible because of tipover accidents, usually involving children.

One CPSC report noted there were 900 injuries treated in emergency rooms from tipover incidents involving appliances during a two-year period. Of those, 42 were fatal. Of the fatalities, 28 involved stoves and ovens. (16) 

Hazardous oven and stovetop safety recalls are issued by manufacturers. Also, many are listed on the CPSC website. For instance, the Sears Kenmore 24-inch electric ranges were recalled in 2015. There was a problem with the heating elements adhering to the cooktop. This posed an electrical shock hazard to the consumer. (17)

How to Prevent Kitchen Appliance Accidents

With these potential hazards in mind, it helps to understand how to prevent kitchen appliance accidents. Here are some things you can do to avoid them: (18) (19) (20)

  • Be sure small appliances are turned off before plugging them in.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Maintain clean cooking area and equipment.
  • Never boil water in a microwave.
  • Never leave the stove unattended while cooking.
  • Never place heavy pans of hot food on open oven doors.
  • Never reach into a chopper or slicer.
  • Prevent grease splatters by using a lid or splash guard, especially while frying.
  • Read and follow product directions.
  • Remain awake and alert while cooking.
  • Store sharp knives in a block, not in a drawer.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove when cooking.
  • Use caution when handling wrapping or covers in a microwave.
  • Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves while cooking.
  • While cooking, keep a lid and dry potholders nearby.

Were you or a loved one injured from a defective kitchen appliance? You may be eligible for compensation.

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Filing a Kitchen Appliance Accident Lawsuit

If you are the victim of a serious kitchen appliance accident, you may find filing a lawsuit is your best legal option.

Kitchen appliance accident legal cases can be very complex, so it is wise to hire an experienced attorney. In fact, the success of your case often hinges upon the attorney you hire. 

You need an attorney who is skilled in personal injury and negligence litigation. You also want someone who is compassionate and dedicated to the best outcome for your case.

Your Weitz & Luxenberg lawyer investigates your claims, and help you file your lawsuit. In New York, your lawsuit must be filed in the county where either you or the company you are suing resides, works, or conducts business. Or in the county where the accident occurred. (21) And it must be filed within three years from the date of the accident. (22)

After your lawyer files the proper paperwork with the court, a summons is issued, and an index number assigned for the case. The summons must then be served on the defendant. It has 20 days to file an answer with the court. Once the defendant answers the summons, a court date is set. (23)

Who Is Liable for Your Injuries?

In a kitchen appliance accident, liability might rest with an installer, maintenance company, or the manufacturer. 

The appliance may have a defect occurring during manufacturing or in the design of the appliance itself. The appliance may have been incorrectly installed. Or maintenance may not have been properly performed. 

If the accident was caused by a gas leak or other utility-related issue, you may be able to file a claim against the utility company.

Compensation Options

Regardless of who exactly is responsible, the best outcome for your case typically involves monetary compensation. A successful case includes getting damages for any the harm done to you. 

The legally responsible party may pay financial compensation for your:

  • Medical bills.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Emotional distress. 
  • Rehabilitation or assistive services.
  • Diminished earning capacity.
  • Lost wages.
  • Property damage.

Punitive damages are another type of damages. They may be awarded, although it rarely happens. 

Punitive damages are punishment for the responsible party because their behavior was shockingly bad. For punitive damage awards, you (as the person suing) need to prove the actions of the company you are suing were intentional or willful. (24)

How W&L Can Help

W&L has an experienced team of lawyers for personal injury and negligence cases. If you were harmed by a kitchen appliance, contact us. Let us help you with your legal case.

We have handled many winning cases. These results demonstrate our dedication to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. 

Here is a snapshot of our successes: