$1.8m payout for woman injured by exploding dispenser

MONTAUBAN • A French court has awarded a million-euro payout to a woman whose skull was cracked by an exploding whipped cream dispenser, in a case echoing the death of a fitness blogger in June.

The woman's attorney, Ms Emeline Petitgirard, said the sum was unusually large for France, where civil courts are "generally skittish" about big monetary awards "in the absence of death".

But the attorney said the case of Ms Emilie Lada, who was 30 at the time, was particularly tragic and the "colossal" €1.09 million (S$1.77 million) sum was "for a life snatched away". When the cannister exploded in December 2013, it cracked Ms Lada's skull, prompted intracranial bleeding and tore off part of her face.

"But the surgeons' work was quite astonishing and the disfigurement is now barely visible," Ms Petitgirard said. However, Ms Lada can no longer work and has lost her sense of taste and smell, she added.

According to the judgment, made public on Saturday, the court in the southern French town of Montauban found the cannister's importer F2J.com and its insurance provider AXA liable for the incident.

AXA had appealed the decision.

A similar incident occurred in June when French Instagram star Rebecca Burger died after a dispenser exploded, hitting her in the chest. France's National Consumer Institute had already issued a warning over the same type of cannister, used by the Ard'Time brand, saying the plastic lid may not be able to withstand pressure from carbon dioxide inside.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2017, with the headline '$1.8m payout for woman injured by exploding dispenser'. Print Edition | Subscribe