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Battery explosions are more common than you think

On Behalf of | May 6, 2016 | Wrongful Death |

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Many common devices including laptop computers, cellphones, hoverboards, E-cigarettes, and even children’s light-up shoes are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which can overheat and vent or explode under certain conditions. We are not telling people not to use these devices. Nor are we calling for any kind of ban. All of these devices can improve people’s lives. However, we believe manufacturers and sellers of these devices should take affirmative steps to make sure that every end user of these products is aware of the risks, and how to minimize them, or avoid them altogether, if possible.

As for vaporizing devices or e-cigarettes, many people these as a tool to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. There is some evidence that this actually saves lives. However, most people don’t know that the batteries powering these devices are unstable, and can overheat, catch fire, or even explode. When a lithium-ion battery explodes inside the metal tube of an e-cigarette, it can become like a bomb going off in a user’s hand, pocket, or even in his mouth.

We are devastated by the injuries our clients have suffered as a result of battery explosions associated with e-cigarette use. We have seen small children with severe burns from an exploding device that was dropped on a bed, resulting in a house fire. We have seen a driver have an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth, breaking multiple teeth and burning his mouth, throat, and lungs. And we are not alone. These incidents are happening with increasing frequency all around the country, not only with e-cigarettes, but with other devices powered by lithium-ion batteries such as hoverboards, and even children’s light-up sneakers.

Here are some examples of lithium-ion battery explosions associated with e-cigarette use across the country in the last year or so:

On May 3, 2016, a 17-year-old from New York was hospitalized with injuries to his throat, lip, and hands following an explosion while he was sampling an e-cigarette. Read more here.

In October, 2015, a Florida man suffered critical injuries requiring him to be placed in a medically induced coma after the batteries in his e-cigarette vented while he was smoking it. During the explosion, the mouthpiece went down his throat and caused further damage. Read more here.

In November, 2015, a venting battery in an e-cigarette broke a man’s neck in Colorado. The man was nearly paralyzed and required spinal surgery to repair the injury. Read more here.

In March, 2015, a California man suffered burns to his face, after the lithium-ion batteries in his e-cig vented, sending shrapnel through his room, and lighting his bed on fire. Read more here.

In February, 2015, the lithium-ion batteries in an e-cig exploded in a California man’s face resulting in severe burns to his face. Read more here.

In January 2016, a 19-year-old California man suffered burns to his leg after his batteries vented in his pocket and caught fire while he was working at a grocery store. Read more here.

Former Major League Soccer player Daniel Califf suffered second-degree burns on his neck, ear and face, and facial fractures when the batteries in an e-cigarette he was using exploded. He, along with others, is currently suing the manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of the device in question. Read more here.

In October, 2015 a Kansas man avoided serious injury when the batteries of his e-cigarette exploded in his hand, sending pieces of shrapnel through the walls of his home.Read more here.

In September, 2015, a 23-year-old Georgia man suffered critical injuries when the lithium-ion batteries in his e-cigarette exploded in his face. The explosion punctured a hole the size of a dime in the top of his mouth. He was airlifted to the burn unit and suffered burns to his hand and a fractured neck and burns to his cornea. Read more here.

In September 2015, a North Texas man had batteries explode in his pants pocket, resulting in second and third-degree burns. The man pointed out that the batteries came with no instructions at all. Read more here.

In October 2015, a Florida man suffered second and third-degree burns to his thigh after the batteries in his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket,. The injuries were so severe, he required two surgeries and a skin graft. Read more here.

We believe anyone who uses any device powered by lithium-ion batteries, including e-cigarettes, should be fully informed of the risks involved so he or she can make an informed decision regarding whether to use these devices. If the injury is solely the result of user error, there will not be a claim. But where there is negligence in the design or manufacture of these devices, or in the failure to adequately warn users of the risks involved, we believe the victims of these incidents should be compensated.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an incident involving a lithium-ion battery in an e-cigarette, or in any device, give our experienced attorneys a call at 425-800-8000. We will evaluate your case and let you know if you have a claim worth pursuing.