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Texas Family Awarded $37 Million in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

By December 16, 2019Wrongful Death

Defective products do more than cost consumers money. Sometimes, they have deadly repercussions, as one Texas family discovered. Now, thankfully, the family has obtained a certain measure of justice for the death of loved ones in a house fire.

According to KII TV South Texas, a Corpus Christi family has been awarded $37 million in a wrongful death lawsuit due to a fire caused by a defective space heater. The heater caught on fire in January 2016 and trapped both Martin and Angelita Enriquez in their home. The couple suffered burns and toxic gas injuries. Mr. Enriquez died from his injuries the day of the fire, while his wife passed five days later.

The heater was manufactured by Lasko in China, and the lawsuit lasted several years as the Enriquez family fought for compensation for their losses.

Faulty Space Heater a “Ticking Time Bomb”

Products should work as consumers expect. Unfortunately, some defect in design or manufacture is often to blame when it explodes, catches on fire, or otherwise injures an unsuspecting consumer.

In this case, the jury found that the heater had a manufacturing defect caused by a loose wire. Evidence presented at trial undermined confidence in Lasko’s quality control processes. In fact, the attorneys called the space heater a “ticking time bomb,” and the jury apparently agreed. Unfortunately, the Enriquez family suffered the consequences.

This is not the first space heater to pose a risk to the public. Other space heaters have been recalled over the past year by manufacturers for other defects that pose hazards to consumers:

  • Amazon recalled AmazonBasics Ceramic Space Heaters in June 2019 due to fire hazards. The heaters sparked or overheated, causing damage to power outlets. Fortunately, the recall went into effect before anyone was injured.
  • In 2018, Vornado recalled 350,000 personal space heaters due to overheating. The units had caused 15 fires, though no one was injured.
  • H.E. Industrial recalled over 8000 electric garage heaters in 2019 due to a risk of overheating.

Consumers should check the latest recalls online and return a product that is identified as defective. Of course, some products are defective even though no recall has been issued, which can lead to tragic results when consumers suffer injuries that they could not prevent.

Determining Fault in a House Fire

If your home caught on fire, there might not be an obvious cause. It could be wiring or a faulty appliance. In some situations, an external source could be to blame. When someone has been injured in a fire, it is important to identify the cause so that anyone at fault can be held legally accountable.

At DC Law, we have helped many clients bring wrongful death lawsuits when a defective product harms a loved one. These cases are not easy to bring, and you would be at a disadvantage if you do not have an experienced lawyer at your side.

To schedule a free case review with a skillful wrongful death lawyer in Austin, contact DC Law at 512-888-9999.