Battery explosion injuries are injuries that occur when a product that contains a battery or battery pack combusts, which results in a personal injury or property damage to a person. In almost every battery exploding case, the battery explosion occurs as a result of overheating or another similar product or design defect.
However, there are other reasons that may lead to a battery explosion, such as a chemical combustion occurring, or a combustion related to the battery being nearby electrical components.
Specifically, battery explosion cases fall under a subset of personal injury laws known as product liability. A product liability claim is a personal injury claim that involves a manufacturer or seller of a product being held accountable for placing a defective product into the stream of commerce. It is important to note that any party responsible for any part of the manufacture of the product that harmed an individual could be held liable, just as any seller may also be held liable.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Battery Explosion Injury?
Once again, a product liability is a claim involving a manufacturer or seller of a product being held accountable for placing a defective product into the stream of commerce. As such, there are many different parties that may be held liable for a battery explosion injury.
During the production of a battery, dozens of parties may be involved. If the battery ends up defective in some way, the following parties may all be held liable for any of the injuries caused by the defect:
- The assembling manufacturer;
- The wholesaler;
- The dealer; and
- The specific manufacturer of the piece of the battery that was found to be defective, if any.
There are three ways in which to categorize product defects that may result in liability to one or all of the previously mentioned parties:
- Design Defect: Design defects are defects in the design of the product. No matter how well the product is manufactured, or how thoroughly a consumer is warned about the product, a defective design renders it as inherently flawed. Because of this, it could lead to potential liability when a defect occurs, such as a battery explosion;
- Manufacturing Defect: A manufacturing defect occurs when the manufacturer puts the product together in such a way that makes the product unsafe
- In the case of a battery, if the battery is prone to overheating as a result of a the manufacturer piecing together the product wrong, such as an imbalance in chemicals, then a manufacturing defect would have occurred; and
- Warning Label Defect: Some products may lead to a products liability suit if there is an inadequate warning regarding the product and how it is to be used and maintained.
- In general, batteries contained in devices often include a warning to the user that a battery is present in the device and that the battery may overheat.
What Are Common Types of Battery Explosions and Injuries?
Regardless of how a battery explosion may occur, when a battery explosion does occur the harm that results from the explosion is often serious in nature. Examples of common injuries associated with battery explosions include:
- Topical burns such as skin burns or chemical burns that lead to scarring, disfigurement, or other similar conditions;
- In serious cases a loss of limb due to the explosion;
- Permanent loss of eyesight as a result of the battery explosion impacting the users eye; and/or
- Temporary or permanent loss of hearing as a result of the battery explosion being near the users ear.
As far as products that run the risk of battery explosions, any product that utilizes an internal battery runs the risk of a battery explosion accident. Examples of common products associated with battery explosions include, but are not limited to:
- Flashlights that contain an internal battery;
- Cell phones;
- Vaporizing, or “vape,” devices
- Laptop or computer fires.
- In most cases, a laptop or all in one computer fire begins with a battery explosion, or with an issue with the laptop charger overheating.
- Laptop fires are especially common in older laptop models, laptops that use bulky batteries, or discontinued laptop models;
- Hoverboard, electric scooter, electronic skateboards, or other smaller vehicles;
- Car, boat, or lawn mower batteries; and/or
- Larger consumer products, such as electric vehicles.
Are There Any Legal Remedies for a Battery Explosion Claim?
In order to recover for injuries suffered as a result of a battery explosion, a plaintiff (i.e. the party that was harmed from the battery explosion) will have to prove:
- That the battery had an “unreasonably dangerous defect” which caused the plaintiff injury or loss;
- That the battery was being properly used according to how it was intended to be used; and
- That the user did not substantially alter the battery from the condition in which it was originally sold so them.
- It is important to note that “substantially altered” refers to the specific way that a product is supposed to be used.
This means that even if the vehicle’s manufacturer did not intend for a person’s injuries to occur, or even if they were not reckless in their actions, an injured person may still be able to recover if they can prove the above elements. As previously discussed, an “unreasonably dangerous defect” may be associated with:
- The battery’s overall design;
- A defect in the manufacturing process, meaning that the design of the battery is acceptable but the battery was manufactured incorrectly; or
- A failure to provide sufficient warning of any dangerous aspects of the battery, such as failing to place a warning label where required.
Once again, if the battery’s manufacturer is found to have issued a defective product, an injured person may recover losses for any injuries that were caused by the defect. Further, if several people have been affected by the same defect, then the injured party may be able to participate in a class action lawsuit.
In a class action lawsuit the plaintiffs will join their claims together against the party liable for their injuries. Additionally, a manufacturer may also be required to issue a recall for the defective product, and even have to pay to remedy the defect.
In some cases, the battery’s manufacturer must provide all owners and purchasers with a free solution to the problem posed by the recall. This remedy can be an entirely new battery, free installation of new parts, or money as a sort of damages award. Finally, the court may in severe cases of gross negligence prescribe punitive damages.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Battery Explosion Claim?
If you have been injured because of a battery explosion, you should consult with an experienced class action lawyer. An experienced attorney will be best suited to helping you understand your state’s specific laws regarding liability and damages awards. An attorney can also discuss your legal options with you and provide you with the most relevant legal advice.
Additionally, an experienced products and services lawyer will be able to inform you of any class action lawsuits that you can join involving a battery explosion. An attorney will also help you determine who to sue, what evidence you should gather to support your claim, and will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.