While deep fryers are certainly convenient, they can also be dangerous. This is especially true with particular models.
Fried Turkey and the Propane Turkey Fryer
With the growing popularity of fried turkey, especially in the south, propane turkey fryers have also become frequent entrants on the scene. These fryers are easy to find (and inexpensive), but they can also be a safety hazard according to the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories. The NFPA does not recommend using consumer-grade turkey fryers, but rather recommends that only properly trained professionals who are using professional grade equipment operate these appliances.
The problem with consumer-grade turkey fryers is that they require a great deal of cooking oil and operate at very high temperatures. Because of this, there is a very high risk of burn injuries. In addition, even after an individual turns the unit off, it will remain hot for several hours.
When consumers use turkey fryers, there is a potential risk of devastating burns, other types of injuries, and property damage. The NFPA recommends those who have a preference for deep-fried turkey purpose one from a professional who prepares them with professional equipment.
Lawsuits and Recalls
In March of 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report that J.C. Penney had voluntarily recalled Cooks deep fryers because of a faulty heating element that could lead to overheating, fires and burns. There were approximately 27,000 units involved in the recall, and J.C. Penney was aware of five incidents: one minor burn and three incidents of damaged countertops.
Also in 2008, Euro-Pro and QVC voluntarily recalled approximately 1,600 Cooks Essentials deep fryers which had the potential to overheat and present a burn hazard.
In separate case, a 13-month-old toddler pulled over a National Presto deep fryer and spilled hot oil all over himself. The child’s parents sued both the manufacturer and the child’s grandmother, who was using the deep fryer at the time the child pulled it over. More investigation is being conducted to determine if there are similar incidents to this one (involving the deep fryer’s ability to fall from the counter when the child tugged on the electrical cord).
Many of the problems are created because of the way these products were designed. The term “defective by the design” means the actual design was the cause of the safety issues related to those products. For instance, the lack of a lid that is tightly secured is a design defect (as opposed to a manufacturing defect or marketing defect). Some of the known lawsuits involve products that do not have a retractable cord or legs designed to prevent the unit from falling off a counter if the cord is tugged. A unit that is hot to the touch may also be the cause of serious burns, especially for children.
If you or a loved one has been burned because of a consumer-grade deep fryer, you may have a valid product liability claim on your hands. To schedule a free consultation with a product liability attorney, call 1-877-659-2580.