Crock-Pot Explosion Resulted in Serious Burns When Pressure Cooker Lid Removed: Lawsuit
A Colorado woman says she suffered severe burns due to defects in the design of her Crock-Pot Multi-Cooker, which allowed her to remove the lid while the pressure cooker was still pressurized, causing scalding hot contents to be forcefully ejected onto her body.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Salena Rivera in the U.S. District Court of Colorado on September 8, naming Sunbeam Products, Inc., the manufacturer of Crock-Pot pressure cookers, as the defendant.
Rivera indicates she was using her Crock-Pot pressure cooker in November 2022 and opened the lid, believing it was done cooking and all of the internal steam had been released. However, since the contents were still under pressure, the Crock-Pot exploded and caused her to suffer serious burn injuries to her chest, breasts and abdomen.
According to the lawsuit, the burns have resulted in permanent disfigurement and physical impairment. Rivera alleges that if the Crock-Pot had adequate safety features, consumers never would be able to remove the lid while the contents were still pressurized.
“The subject Crock-Pot Pressure Cooker was defective in design, defective in manufacture, not merchantable, not in conformance with its applicable implied and express warranties and was unreasonably dangerous for its intended and/or reasonably foreseeable use, in that its lid opened while the unit was pressurized, caused its scalding hot contents and steam to erupt from the pot, while being used as reasonably intended and expected,” her lawsuit states. “The subject Crock-Pot Pressure Cooker was dangerous to an extent beyond which would be contemplated by the ordinary consumer with the ordinary knowledge common to the community as to its characteristics in that the lid could open under conditions of reasonable and expected use while its contents were under pressure.”
Crock-Pot and Pressure Cooker Explosion Risks
Modern electronic pressure cookers like the Crock-Pot Multi-Cooker have become popular in recent decades, amid marketing that has promoted advanced features that were supposed to prevent pressure cooker explosions that have plagued older, stove-top designs.
However, Rivera’s allegations are similar to those presented in a growing number of pressure cooker lawsuits filed against Crock-Pot and other manufacturers, each pointing to design problems and a lack of available safety features that could prevent the lid from being removed while built up pressure remained inside the pot.
In addition to cases against Sunbeam, complaints have also been filed against the manufacturers of other popular brands of modern electronic pressure cookers, including Instant Pot, Tristar, Ninja Foodi, and others.
Most of the problems involve similar pressure cooker burn injuries which occurred after the lid exploded off while the contents were still pressurized, typically resulting in burns covering a large percentage of the user’s body. However, other injuries linked to pressure cookers have also included eye injuries, broken bones and other complications that resulted from electrocutions, spills or explosions.
As more of these electric pressure cookers have been introduced in recent years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued several pressure cooker recalls over problems where lids were able to be opened while contents are under pressure, allowing hot contents to be expelled and causing a scald or burn injury to individuals in the immediate area.
In November 2020, a massive Crock-Pot Multi-Cooker recall was issued for more than 1 million products, following more than 100 reports of problems where the lids detached from pressure inside the cookers, causing severe burns and other injuries.
Last month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a similar Sensio pressure cooker recall affecting nearly 900,000 devices, which also pointed to dozens of pressure cooker explosions and burn injuries, which occurred when the lid was removed. However, many consumers remain unaware of the hidden dangers associated with these products, and the lack of safety features that could prevent serious burns from an explosion.
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