We have already seen record-setting snowfall across much of New Jersey this winter. Now, in addition to more snow in the forecast, meteorologists are predicting significant icing in the next couple of rounds of storms.
Residents of New Jersey clearly understand the impact of ice storms. Roadways turn into a dangerous skating rink. The number of serious car accidents increases. The number of serious injuries from slip and fall accidents increases. And, of course, the number of power outages skyrockets.
There are two words that power companies never want to hear in the winter. freezing rain. Utility workers will be working hard, risking work-related injuries and putting in long hours and overtime through some brutally cold conditions. Thank you to every New Jersey worker who is out there helping to restore power during these storms.
As both the frequency and strength of major storms continue to rise because of climate change, the usage of portable generators continues to increase as well.
While most people are at the mercy of the power companies while waiting for their power to be restored, some businesses and homeowners are fortunate enough to have a generator as a temporary solution. Generators are truly a lifesaver in many cases. The ability to keep the power on has provided hospitals with vital resources during major disasters. It has helped give people some level of comfort when they are evacuated from their homes and living in storm shelters.
Portable generators have brought a great deal of value to homeowners as well. Many people have found themselves at home a great deal more during this year’s Coronavirus pandemic. Having the ability to keep the power on is a big help to professionals working remotely and students learning virtually. However, it is important to know that portable generators also present several potentially dangerous risks.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the major risk from the use of portable generators is CO poisoning. Portable generators produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide, which is a gas that is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. The CPSC reported that more than 900 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning while using portable generators between 2005 and 2017. In addition, the CPSC concluded that thousands more required treatment at an emergency room from suffering with CO poisoning.
According to the CDC, “the CO poisoning death rate was highest among people 65 and over and likely attributed to their being at higher risk for undetected CO exposure. Symptoms of CO exposure often resemble those associated with other health conditions that are common among the elderly and they may not seek prompt medical attention for undetected CO exposures.”
The most common symptoms of CO exposure are nausea, headache and dizziness and they can be easily mistaken for other conditions such as a viral illness. The more severe symptoms including loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and loss of muscle control are often not reported. (CDC.gov)
In addition to carbon monoxide dangers, the use of portable generators has caused several other types of serious accident injuries. These accident injuries include severe burns from explosions and fires and electrocutions.
See a full list of safety guidelines from Consumer Reports here. Some important points include:
- Never run a generator indoors and always keep it at least 20 feet from the house or building.
- Always direct the exhaust away from the home or building.
- Always keep generators dry and do not use in wet conditions.
- Avoid electrical hazards by using a transfer switch. Always check cords for cuts or damage.
- Do not attempt to backfeed your house, which means trying to power your home’s wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet.
Here are a few notable lawsuits involving the use of portable generators:
Honda Portable Generators
In 2019, Honda recalled about 200,000 portable generators due to a fire hazard caused by gasoline leaking from the unit’s fuel valve. In March of 2020, Honda then recalled those same generators again plus an additional 140,000 units. According to the CPSC, “the portable generator’s inverter assembly can short circuit with the presence of salt water. This causes the unit to smoke or catch fire, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers.” The models recalled were Honda EB2200i, EU2200i, EU2200i Companion and EU2200i Camo Portable Generators.
A class action lawsuit was filed by some owners of the recalled Honda portable generators.
If you or a loved one may have been impacted or injured as a result of these recalled generators, please reach out to our product liability attorneys at 908-352-2323.
Generac Power Systems
Earlier this year, a Langhorne, Pennsylvania man filed suit against Generac Power Systems and Lowe’s Home Improvement.
The man suffered right index finger amputation and crush injuries from a generator that the lawsuit alleges was defective. The injuries occurred when the plaintiff and his assistant attempted to move the portable generator from the back of a truck.
The lawsuit states, ““As the generator began to drop, due to the negligence and wrongdoing of defendants, and the defective condition of the aforementioned portable generator, suddenly and without warning, the handle caught on the vehicle and swung up and plaintiff experienced amputation and traumatic crush injury to the index finger of his right hand and further causing him to suffer severe and grievous injuries.” (Pennsylvania Record, 6/1/2020)
City of San Francisco vs. Building Owner and Commercial Leaseholder
In 2017, the city of San Francisco filed a lawsuit against a landlord who “exploited 20 vulnerable residents for years by charging them rent to live in unsafe, dungeon-like quarters in the windowless basement of a laundromat”(sfcityattorney.org)
The lawsuit accuses the landlord of several violations that forced these tenants to live under horrible conditions. Among the claims laid out in the lawsuit, cutting off power to the basement and “forcing residents to use a portable generator for electricity and creating a threat of fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Portable generators provide numerous benefits. They can save lives under dire conditions. Portable generators can help businesses maintain productivity and they can provide homeowners with a great deal of value as well. People just need to remember to follow all safety guidelines when using them.
If serious injuries do occur, even when operating generators safely, accident victims need to discuss their situation with a trusted product liability attorney. Product defects are possible in all industries and the manufacturing of generators is no exception.
MINTZ & GEFTIC – New Jersey Accident injury Lawyers
All car accidents and truck accidents require NO FEE unless we are successful in securing you a recovery to compensate you for your injuries and pain and suffering.
We give personal attention to all of our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, truck accident, rear end accident or pedestrian accident, call the best New Jersey injury lawyers today at 908-352-2323.
If you were injured driving while working call us today at 908-352-2323. If you prefer contacting our work accident injury lawyers via email, please click here.
If you were injured as a result of a defective product or product liability call us s today at 908-352-2323. If you prefer contacting our product liability lawyers via email, please click here.
If you were injured as an Uber or Lyft passenger call us s today at 908-352-2323. If you prefer contacting our injury lawyers via email, please click here.
Our injury lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey. This includes the cities of Newark, Elizabeth, Union, Short Hills, Millburn, Livingston and Jersey City. We cover Morris, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union and Middlesex counties. Our accident lawyers have offices in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Short Hills, New Jersey and in New York City.
We represent clients suffering with spinal cord injury, back injury, burn injury, broken bones and traumatic brain injury.
If you are enduring physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, lost wages, medical expenses or any other hardship resulting from an accident please contact us today for a free consultation.