Injuries Happen At Home As Well
Under normal circumstances when we talk about defective products where deaths may be involved, the most common examples of these are automobiles. As a consumer product, an automobile is large, heavy, and, once it gets moving, capable of inflicting great force and harm to both passengers or other automobiles alike. That’s why it’s so surprising, but no less tragic, when common household items that anyone can buy result in a tragic, confusing death, and this is what happened recently in France.
On June 17th, Rebecca Burger, a popular French social media fitness model and personality was in her home. She was preparing something for herself in her kitchen, and decided to treat herself with a little bit whipped cream, using a product from a company known as Chantilly that dispensed pressurized whipped cream. To her surprise, the dispenser exploded, and a cartridge that was housed in the dispenser shot off with enough force to hit Burger in the chest.
She suffered cardiac arrest, but was eventually revived by an emergency response team. Unfortunately, the injury was severe enough that even though they managed to revive her heart, she still died of her injury, in the hospital, later that same day.
Why It Happened
Unfortunately, this is not the first incident of a Chantilly whipped cream dispenser causing an accident, this is merely the most serious and most recent example. This particular line of whipped cream dispensers—largely sold in France—has a serious design flaw. It operates with a cartridge that is filled with high pressure gas. Once the gas runs out, the cartridge needs a new replacement, but while the cartridge may appear to be properly, securely fastened, it may not be, and begin leaking gas. The plastic cap that sits on top of the cartridge does not always withstand the immense pressures the gas cartridge uses as it adds gas to the liquid. This can result in a build-up of pressure on the plastic cap that eventually causes an explosion.
While it isn’t at the same lethal speed as a firearm, there have been cases in France of injuries related to this Chantilly dispenser resulting in neck, hand, face and throat injuries. In one instance, a woman in Corsica lost her eye as the result of a dispenser explosion.
Obviously when an incident such as the death Rebecca Burger occurs, there is always the question of why such a product is available to the public. Similarly to the United States, the French government did issue a recall on this product, and they did so before the accident that claimed Rebecca Burger’s life. However, as with the United States, the responsibility of heeding a recall is up to owners. In the case of the Chantilly whipped cream dispenser, the product was stopped, and a recall was issued. At that time, 160,000 units had already been released to the public, but only 25,000 had been returned.
This brings up an interesting question about how aggressively a recall announcement should be pushed and enforced. There have been some criticisms of the French government that while it has obeyed the letter of the law in announcing a product recall, it has not done enough to create awareness of such recalls, and keep the public informed of the risks and the need to turn in products that are deemed defective. In the United States of course, when defective products result in an injury, there is often a lot of press surrounding the incident and the recall itself, which usually circulates enough to get many people to consider their own safety.
It’s important for Americans to stay current with announcements of defective products and subsequent recalls. The product recall for certain Samsung smartphones that would explode, for example, is an important recent incident that showed how an essential, every day object of convenience can turn into a health hazard with serious risks for the owner. Take such defective product announcements seriously, and, if you find you own such a product, exercise your responsibility to yourself, friends and family to obey these recalls and turn them in.
If you find yourself in a situation where you or someone close to you has been injured as a result of a defective product, take immediate action. Consult with an experienced accident attorney, explain the situation, and take a look at your options, especially if the product in question has already been recalled. With the right guidance, you can get financial compensation, and help others to avoid the same injury that you or someone close to you suffered, and you can make sure that the companies that create and sell these products take more care to protect consumers like you in the future.