Lithium Battery Defects Cause Fires, Explosions, and Injury
Smartphones and E-cigarette Battery Defects Pose Danger to Consumers
Used in thousands of personal electronic consumer products, lithium batteries power our phones, laptops, and more. Yet, many of these products may catch fire, explode, and cause serious injuries to unsuspecting users. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been hundreds of product recalls for defective lithium-ion battery-operated devices and battery packs since 2002. The recalls primarily note a burn and fire hazard from the products.
Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most common power sources for modern-day electronics; they’re found in everything from smartphones to laptops to cameras to e-cigarettes.
Every lithium-ion battery-powered device has a theoretical risk of explosion, and though overheating issues occur infrequently, the sustained injuries can be devastating.
Joe Lyon is a highly rated Cincinnati Catastrophic Injury and Ohio product liability lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of consumer product liability and product defect cases.
Samsung and Apple Phones Battling Dangerous Battery Defects
In the last 15 years there have been numerous product safety warnings and recalls of lithium rechargeable devices that have burned or exploded in practically every kind of wireless application, including cameras, notebooks, hoverboards, vaporizers, and smartphones. These battery defects
In the fall of 2016, Samsung recalled Galaxy Note 7 on dozens of reports of the phone exploding. Reports of Apple phones also overheating and causing injuries have startled consumers around the world.
Companies like Apple and Samsung use third-party companies to test their phone batteries, but a new report reveals that Samsung tested the exploding battery in-house. Samsung reports the company found no issues with the Galaxy Note 7’s battery when it conducted its own internal testing, which raises questions about all other devices with the same industry certification.
The reports have also alarmed the Federal Aviation Administration, which has issued a strong advisory asking passengers not to use the Samsung Note 7 or even stow it in checked baggage. Airlines around the world hastened to ban in-flight use and charging of the device.
How do Lithium Batteries Pose a Danger?
Batteries can overheat, explode or melt when internal electrical components short-circuit, when mechanical problems are triggered after a fall or an accident, or when they are installed incorrectly. But essentially, all of these failures occur because one portion of the battery gets too hot and can’t cool down quickly enough, creating a chain reaction that generates more and more heat. If a lithium-ion battery cell charges too quickly or a manufacturing error emerges, it can result in a short circuit, and in turn lead to a fire.
Experts say other faults that can cause a short circuit include contamination by tiny fragments of metal during the production process or minute holes in the sealing, which might not become apparent until the battery has been used by the end user.
Unregulated E-Cigarettes and Vaporizers Injure Hundreds of Users
The U.S. Fire Administration estimated that more than 2.5 million Americans used e-cigs and vaporizers in 2014. As the trend of smokers switching to vaporizers grows, the industry says the number of related accidents will also increase. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Injury Information database has reported 29 house fires and serious injuries caused by exploding e-cigarettes.
Most packaging on E-cig products fails to warn about the fire and explosion hazards, and consumers never realize the potential risk.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CPSC are both aware of the problem, but neither agency currently regulates these new devices.
Common Injuries Caused by E-Cig Battery Fire and Explosion
The U.S. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported 15 separate e-cigarette fire incidents in 2015. Unlike smartphones and other electronics, e-cigarettes are currently an unregulated product, so the total injuries caused may be grossly underestimated. The report noted that the shape and construction of e-cigarettes can make them likely to behave like “flaming rockets” when a lithium battery malfunctions.
Physicians at trauma and burn units across the country are seeing an increase of e-cig-related injuries. The flame burn and tissue blast injuries are likely to affect the mouth, face, hands, and sometimes cause loss of eyesight. Burn centers are reported many third-degree burns requiring skin grafts and significant pain and scarring.
Legal Action and Compensation for Victims
If you have been injured by a fire or explosion involving a smartphone, e-cig or other lithium battery-powered device, and suspect it may have been due at least in part to a defect with the product, it is critical to preserve the evidence and all parts. Take photos at the scene of the incident and contact an injury lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced product liability lawyer can assist in evaluating the root cause of the failure. To build a compelling case, there must be evidence that the design of the electronic device was defective, a manufacturing defect existed, or the manufacturer was negligent in the manner in which the device was tested or sold. The Lyon Firm works with design engineers and battery experts to determine the root cause of the failure to trace the defect back to a design or manufacturing source.
Compensation may be awarded for incurred and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, as well as punitive damages against a manufacturer for conscious disregard for the safety of consumers.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a defective lithium battery or device, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403.You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.
After two hip replacement surgeries, I was informed that one of the prosthesis was the DuPuy Joint and the other was very similar but manufactured by a different company. After several attempts to contact the manufacturer directly to discuss the claim, I was met with bureaucratic red tape that appeared to be insurmountable. I then turned to Joe Lyon of the Lyon Law Firm who immediately cut through the pro I highly recommend Joe if you are faced with the need for this type of litigation.Tim Ross
I met Joe during what was easily one of the worst times of my life. My husband had been in a serious accident and was a quadriplegic following that accident and remained in one medical facility after another until his death nearly four years later. We had contacted an area attorney who told us we absolutely did not have a case. Then we called a Cleveland firm that took the case and brought in Joe. Joe did so much of the work and became just like family to us. I would highly recommend Joe to anyone and be willing to guarantee that he will do anything and everything possible to get satisfactory results. He is extremely dedicated to his clients and very hard working. Mike and I came to think of him like a son, I still do; if it wasn’t for him I don’t believe our case would have been settled the way it was and may have ended up in a courtroom where the results can go any way.Donna Urchak