Defective Space Heater Causes Serious Burns


Forensics Expert WitnessThis thermal analysis case takes place in Ohio and involves the alleged improper function of an electric space heater. The plaintiff purchased an electric heater from a large online retail chain for use in her home. He had the heater on its highest setting, located on the floor several feet away from her. Suddenly, the heater malfunctioned, and the temperature generated increased significantly in a very short amount of time. This rapid temperature spike caused burns and scorching on the floor and furniture in front of the heating unit, as well as severe burns to the plaintiff’s right foot. It is alleged that the heater was defectively designed and / or manufactured, and that the dangerous malfunction in the heater’s temperature control unit was directly responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have extensive experience with the engineering and design of electric heaters?
  • 2. Have you ever served as an expert on a similar case?

Expert Witness Response E-013337

I do have extensive experience with electric heaters and the forensic analysis of heaters involved in product liability cases. Additionally, I have extensive experience in product testing, radiant heat transfer, and electrical design/circuit analysis. I have had multiple cases in the past involving electric heaters with similar allegations. Typically, it is alleged that the heater caused a fire or physical injury as a result of a malfunction. I bring a unique mixture of expertise in electrical forensics, fire science, and product investigations with the ability to breakdown the science and explain it at an elementary level. If the description above is accurate, then there is a clear defect in the safety and temperature regulating features of this heater.

Expert Witness Response E-001181

Expert-ID: E-001181

I’ve worked on a number of forensic matters involving a variety of heat producing devices including electric heaters. In particular, two matters involving fire causation from convection heaters. I have broad experience with heat producing devices and safety standards their design. I am familiar with the modes of radiant energy injuries to skin, as well. There are a number of ways that the heater can ‘fail.’ A sudden difference in radiant energy could exceed the threshold value, reducing the amount of time needed for a skin burn to occur.

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