Lawyers for Victims of Battery Explosions and Fires
Lithium-ion batteries are used in a countless number of products. Unfortunately, certain conditions and defects can cause these batteries to explode, leading to devastating injuries. The product liability lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP represent victims of exploding batteries and the damage they cause, and we can help you get compensation if you’ve been harmed by a dangerous battery defect. Call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER today for a free case evaluation.
What Is a Lithium Battery?
A lithium-ion battery is different from something like a typical AA or AAA battery because it’s rechargeable and often built directly into the device that it’s powering. Many manufacturers favor lithium batteries because of their long life. Laptops and phones use these batteries because of the large amount of power that can contained in a small battery.
Can Lithium Batteries Explode?
Yes, lithium batteries can explode. While they are efficient power storage devices, many aspects of their design make them potentially dangerous.
Why Do Batteries Explode?
These batteries contain two types of electrodes: the cathode and the anode. A thermoplastic substance called polypropylene separates the cathode from the anode. However, as we’ve made devices smaller, this protective layer has shrunk, too. If the cathode and anode accidentally touch, this can ignite flammable liquid inside the battery. When this happens, the battery’s temperature increases and intense pressure builds up, which causes the battery to explode.
Batteries aren’t designed to explode, so when they do, a battery defect is usually to blame. Design or manufacturing errors can leave the battery without proper ventilation or with jagged pieces that damage the polypropylene shield. Poorly made chargers can also cause batteries to overheat, and dropping a device can cause pressure in the battery, leading to an explosion. There is also some concern that lithium batteries explode on plane trips because of the change in air pressure.
How Hot Can a Battery Get Before It Explodes?
When the cathode and anode touch, the inside of a battery can reach more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, the flammable materials inside can ignite or explode, causing severe burns, fires, and other injuries.
What Products Contain Lithium Batteries and Explode?
From vape injuries to explosive battery car accident cases, lithium-ion batteries have caused injuries in a multitude of products and devices. These batteries are so commonly used that they can be found in many items people use every day, including:
- Electric cars
- Electric bikes
- GPS systems
- Electric wheelchairs
- Bluetooth speakers
Vape accidents are of special concern because of the frequency of battery explosions. From 2015 to 2017, more than 2,000 people visited the emergency room due to burns and other injuries related to exploding vape pen batteries.
Tesla has also come under scrutiny over the safety of their batteries after reports of explosions and even tragic deaths in Indianapolis.
N.Y.F.D. Commissioner Demands Responsible Sales Practices by Retailers Following Fatal Fire
November 13, 2023 – A devastating fire in a Brooklyn residence, which resulted in the tragic loss of three family members on November 13, 2023, has been attributed to a lithium-ion battery by the Fire Department of New York City (F.D.N.Y.). The heart-wrenching incident, occurring on Albany Avenue in the Crown Heights area, claimed the lives of three relatives spanning three generations. The aftermath of the fire was palpable in the area, with the smell of smoke lingering and the remnants of the family’s possessions scattered on the sidewalk.
Fire investigators, delving into the cause, discovered the charred remains of two electric scooters inside the house. F.D.N.Y. Commissioner Laura Kavanagh expressed strong condemnation of these “illegal, uncertified” devices, describing them as significant hazards that the industry must address.
Officials reported that a lithium-ion battery while being charged near the home’s entrance and staircase, exploded. This led to an intense fire, captured in videos from the scene. F.D.N.Y. Chief of Department John Hodgens highlighted the rapid and dangerous nature of fires caused by electric bike batteries, which often allow little time for escape.
The victims of this tragedy were identified as an 81-year-old woman, her son, and her grandson. The fire also resulted in injuries to 14 other individuals, including a firefighter who has since returned home.
The local community has been deeply affected, with neighbors like Vivian Johnson, who grew up nearby, remembering Albertha West’s nurturing presence. The fire’s cause, a seemingly innocuous battery, has brought sadness and shock to the neighborhood.
Commissioner Kavanagh criticized the deceptive safety of these batteries and the inability of firefighters to respond effectively to such rapid blazes. She emphasized the need for responsible sales practices by retailers and safety measures for food delivery services that rely on electric bikes.
In response to these concerns, Grubhub has urged for safer charging facilities and standardized safety norms for lithium-ion batteries. Walmart, addressing the issue of uncertified products, reiterated its zero-tolerance policy towards fraudulent sellers.
Commissioner Kavanagh highlighted a grim statistic: 17 deaths in New York City this year have been attributed to fires caused by lithium-ion batteries. She accused both online retailers and food delivery services of having a role in these fatalities. The F.D.N.Y. commissioner also noted that the city is on the verge of surpassing 100 fire deaths this year, a toll not seen in decades, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue.
The tragic incident in Brooklyn serves as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by uncertified lithium-ion batteries and the necessity for stricter regulation and awareness to prevent such catastrophes in the future.
What to Do if a Lithium Ion Battery Explodes
A lithium-ion battery fire can be doused with water. You can also use a Class D fire extinguisher on device. Once the fire is extinguished, place the battery outside, as further cells within the battery can catch fire as chemical reactions continue. If you have been injured or the fire is at risk of spreading, contact emergency services for help. After that, you can consider contacting our lawyers for a free consultation on a potential battery defect case. Make sure to keep the remains of the battery as evidence, sealed away safely.
I Was Injured by a Battery Defect: Can I Sue?
If you’ve been injured by a defective battery, contact Parker Waichman as soon as possible, as you may be able to get compensation by filing a product defect lawsuit. We’ll examine your case for free and help you determine whether you should take legal action against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of your defective battery.
Contact Parker Waichman’s Defective Battery Attorneys Today
The experienced product defect attorneys at Parker Waichman are well-equipped to handle cases related to lithium battery accidents. Whether you were injured by a vape accident, an exploding battery in a phone, or a defective battery in a scooter or wheelchair, contact us today: We’ll help you determine who is responsible for the damages you’ve suffered and hold them accountable.
We all have the right to safely use battery-powered devices and to trust that defective batteries will be kept out of the hands of consumers. When this doesn’t happen, consumers suffer, and we’re here to help them seek justice. Call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER today for your free case evaluation.
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