A Colorado family has filed suit against the manufacturer of Instant Pot, saying the wildly-popular pressure cooker exploded during use, resulting in severe third-degree burns to their child. The accident, which occurred in September 2017, left the family's then-nine-year-old daughter suffering from burns across 16% of her body. Continue reading to learn how a pressure cooker injury lawyer can assist you if you've sustained injuries in a similar incident.
Last year, Mary Cooper loved the idea and promise of the Instant Pot, a powerful pressure cooker touted for blazing-fast cooking speeds and unparalleled safety. A mother of six, Cooper had seen plenty of ads for the cooker, so she went online and purchased one. "I thought Instant Pot was the greatest invention," she said later. "I thought it was going to help my soup cook faster. Anything that makes dinner faster and easier is great for a young mom."
After the Instant Pot arrived, Cooper tried it out with great success, cooking several meals after reading the product's instructions carefully. With her trial runs over, Cooper decided to prepare a soup for a friend whose mother had recently passed away. Her daughter Caroline, a young cooking enthusiast, joined her in the kitchen to help.
That's when tragedy struck. Cooper described the scenario in detail. "I had made the exact same soup before, cooking with the kids. Everybody is by the island [...] and Caroline wanted to come help me. The soup is done. It beeps it's 'done.' We manually vent it and steam comes out telling you that it is un-pressurizing. The valve float drops, and we go to open it and put the kale in. We were just going to add kale. And it exploded. Completely exploded."
Standing close to the cooker when it happened, Caroline, then nine-years-old, was covered in scalding hot soup. Her face sustained severe burns from a harsh burst of steam. Cooper says the contents of the Instant Pot didn't just spill out of the cooker; they burst like an explosion.
Now 11 years old, Caroline described the frantic rush of the minutes following the explosion: "I went into the kitchen to help my mom cook her soup because I love cooking with my mom. And when we vented it, I was opening it, and it just exploded. I closed my eyes. I remember my mom was on the floor. My dad had come running down the stairs. I was yelling at my mom to get my shirt off because it was still burning me, so my dad picked me up and took me to the hospital right away because my mom was in shock."
Young Caroline suffered third-degree burns over around 16% of her body. She spent weeks receiving treatment at Children's Hospital Colorado's Burn Center, putting a significant financial and emotional stress on the nine-year-old and her family. "Caroline did not want to see her burns, so they would hold up a sheet so her face didn't have to look at her body," Mary Cooper told reporters at Fox31 while choking back tears.
Caroline says she still suffers from anxiety around heated objects. "It was really scary, and I have anxiety still today about it and I was too scared to be around hot things," she told reporters. According to her family's lawsuit, "Caroline Cooper sustained serious, painful, disfiguring and permanent scalding burn injuries to her shoulder, arm, chest and torso."
In their lawsuit, the Cooper family takes issue with one of the Instant Pot's primary safety claims - that the pot's lid cannot be opened until the pressure cooker has de-pressurized completely. The family says this statement is false - as their own distressing encounter with the pressure cooker attests. Their attorney, Ken Moll, says Instant Brands, the manufacturer of the Instant Pot, has been warned on repeated occasions of this alleged design defect, but has thus far failed to address it. "It's certainly a ticking time bomb," Moll said. "We've got a lot of cases around the world where users are experiencing the lid popping off and the contents of the Instant Pot spewing all over causing third-degree burns. These are the facts."
Instant Brands countered the Cooper family's claims in a legal response to their lawsuit, saying the Instant Pot "is reasonably safe, is UL Listed, and was designed, manufactured and tested in accordance with all industry, consensus, and regulatory standards."
Instant Brands merged recently with the company Corelle Brands, owner of the Pyrex cookware brand.
Read related news: Nine-Year-Old Suffers Severe Burns After Pressure Cooker Explosion