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Portable Generators – Benefits, Dangers & Lawsuits


The effects of Hurricane Ida were major! From its first landfall along the Gulf coast to its arrival here in New Jersey, Ida’s path was destructive.

Several families have endured catastrophic damage and some have even lost loved ones as a result of Ida. While Ida may not have been considered a major hurricane (or even a hurricane) by the time it worked its way to our area, the effects on the people of New Jersey were clearly major to say the least. Our hearts go out to all of the families affected by these recent events.  

There were millions of customers without power immediately following the storm and still many left in the dark today. These power outages clearly make the already challenging aftermath of the storm even worse. 

Utility workers have been working hard, risking work-related injuries and putting in long hours and overtime each day while working in extreme conditions. We all appreciate the efforts of these New Jersey workers and all utility workers around the country pitching in wherever they can.

Climate change has clearly taken hold. The frequency and power of storms like Ida, Isaias and Sandy are clearly increasing.

Residents across New Jersey that have never experienced major flooding are finding their homes inudated with water.

Residents across New Jersey that have gone 10 or 20 years without hearing about tornados in their area are suddenly seeing tornado warnings regularly.

Power outages are widespread across several states. As these storms wreak havoc on the power grid, the use of generators continues to increase across the country. Are generator safe? What do people need to know about using them? We try to summarize here:



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 the Coronavirus pandemic. Having the ability to keep the power on is a big help to professionals working remotely and students learning virtually. However, portable generators also present a number of 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.

In fact, just today the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued an advisory in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida..

The storm has knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses and people could turn to “alternate power sources such as gasoline generators and may use propane or charcoal grills for cooking,” the CDC said. “If used or placed improperly, these sources can lead to CO build up inside buildings, garages, or campers and poison the people and animals inside.” (


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


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)

update August 2021:

  • Generac has recalled more than 320,000 portable generators in the United States.
  • Generac has received eight reports of injuries, seven resulting in finger amputations.
  • The recall affects Generac and DR 6500 Watt and 8000 Watt portable generators in the United States and Canada.


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”(

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. 


Consumer Reports

Pennsylvania Record

City Attorney of San Francisco



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