A woman from Round Rock is in the hospital recovering from severe burns. The incident occurred at her home on August 30, 2020. Katie Wise said that she and her daughters were beginning their nightly routine. She would light sage, and they would watch a movie together.

Wise said that she had gotten out of the shower and put on hand sanitizer. She said that it was a routine to use the hand sanitizer because one of her daughters has multiple health conditions. Those conditions put her at a higher risk during the coronavirus pandemic.

The incident happened as Wise was lighting the sage. She had used an off-brand hand sanitizer from a local supermarket. When she lit the sage, her entire hand caught on fire, and she jumped back.

There was a bottle of rubbing alcohol on the desk. Wise believes that when she pulled her hand back, it could have touched the bottle of rubbing alcohol. That was when “it just went off like a bomb.”

Wise attempted to put out the flames. The girls were panicked, so she focused on getting them out of the burning room.

Everyone was able to get out of the house unharmed except for Wise. She has second and third-degree burns on numerous parts of her body, including her face.

The fire burnt her eyebrows and eyelashes, causing scratches on her corneas. Doctors advised Wise that they are hopeful she will regain her vision, but it could take several months.

Wise says she is grateful that her family is safe and that she is alive. She also said that the experience has caused her to think about the products in her home and how to do things differently. She wants her experience to be a warning to other families about the products in their homes.

A Tragic Accident or Product Liability Claim

Whenever an accident occurs involving a product, it raises issues about whether the product was safe to use. Defective products injure and kill thousands of people each year.

Recently, the FDA issued warnings and recalls related to hand sanitizers. In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, hand sanitizers became almost impossible to find. Stores could not keep the products on the shelves, and online retailers were sold out.

Unfortunately, hand sanitizers appeared on the market that were not safe to use. They contained harmful ingredients, including methanol and 1-propanol. Now, the FDA is warning against hand sanitizers that are subpotent (low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol).

In the accident above, it is unknown whether the hand sanitizer may have contained ingredients that could increase the risk or danger of catching fire. It could be that it was a tragic accident that the makers of the product could not have anticipated.

Filing Injury Claims for Defective Products

If a product is defective and causes an injury, one or more parties may be liable for the victim’s damages. Product designers, manufacturers, distributors, and sellers owe a duty of care to consumers who purchase their products. The products must be safe to use for their designated purpose.

Product defects generally occur in one of three ways:

  • The product contains an inherent design flaw that makes it dangerous or hazardous
  • The product has a manufacturing flaw that could make it dangerous to use
  • There were insufficient instructions or warnings with the product

If a defective product injuries someone, that person could receive compensation from the responsible party. Compensation may include reimbursement for loss of income and medical expenses. A defective product claim may also include compensation for the person’s injuries, pain, and suffering.

What Should I Do if a Product Injures Me?

If you believe a product is defective, you need to talk with a product liability lawyer. A lawyer can investigate the cause of the injury to determine if the product was defective. If so, the lawyer can identify the liable parties and file a claim for damages.

Steps to take after being injured by a defective product:

  • See a doctor immediately for treatment and to document your injuries
  • Take photographs of your injuries and any property damage caused by the product
  • Keep all parts of the product (if it is safe to do so), including the packaging and instructions
  • Keep detailed records of all financial losses and medical bills
  • Do not discuss your injuries or the accident on social media or with anyone else

As soon as possible, contact a product liability lawyer. The attorney may give you additional guidance on steps that you need to take to protect your legal rights.