When Electronic Battery Failure Leads to Burns

Madeleine Jones
July 20, 2016

Several Electronics Devices, personal injuriesConsumer goods that overheat or explode can cause significant burn injuries to the user and anyone in close proximity. Devices including laptops, computers, e-cigs, and cell phones often utilize lithium-ion batteries to supply the power the device needs to function. When these batteries fail, the results can cause serious injuries and damage to personal property. If you or a family member was seriously injured in an accident involving litium batteries, call a Las Vegas injury lawyer at Cogburn Law Offices today for a free case consultation.

Why Lithium-Ion Batteries Explode

Inside each lithium ion battery, there is a combination of lithium metal, solvents, and fluoride compounds. When a battery catches fire, chemistry takes over and creates a dangerous, potentially lethal situation.The explosion or combustion of a lithium-ion battery occurs because of a process referred to as thermal runaway. This process can occur in just a milliseconds and begins when a module(s) within the battery fails.

If an internal module within the battery fails, it disrupts the flow of ions traveling between the anode and cathode via a conducting fluid. When this happens, it causes the conducting fluid to boil which creates sufficient pressure to burst through the case.

Injuries Caused by Battery Explosions

Battery explosions can injure hearing or send sharp shards of plastic, glass, or metal deep into soft tissues. If the eyes are struck by these shards, it can cause permanent blindness. The sound of the explosion may also cause temporary, intermittent, or permanent hearing loss.

Burns from flames and chemical burns from contact with hydrofluoric acid are among the most common injuries suffered by individuals whose lithium-ion battery explodes. These burns often occur on the hands, mouth, or face. If the device explodes while in a pocket, it can cause considerable burns to the chest, hips, and buttocks.

Finally, toxic exposure is a common injury following a battery failure. As the battery catches fire or explodes, it can launch of cloud of toxic fumes from burning acids and solvents into the air. Even short exposure is enough to cause permanent scarring of lung tissue which can lead to long-term respiratory problems.

Ultimately, the injuries individuals can experience from a lithium ion battery failure can have a considerable impact on quality of life and the ability to work.

Pursuing Damages for Burns and Other Injuries

Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have a duty of care that compels them not to market or sell dangerous or defective products. When companies such as Samsung fail in this responsibility, individuals and their lawyer can hold them liable for the personal injuries and property damage their device caused.