The number of electric vehicles (also known as EVs) on the road is rapidly increasing daily. Nowadays, you’re likely to see an electric car just about any time you travel on a highway or a busy local street. EVs are a relatively new method of transportation made possible by recent advances in power storage technology. Maybe the most significant of these advancements is the lithium-ion (or Li-ion) battery, which powers electric vehicles.
Lithium-ion batteries are great for a variety of reasons. They last about 10 times longer than lead-acid batteries. Older batteries, such as those that are nickel-based, had to be primed. In other words, they required a cycle of repeated charging and discharging to reach their optimal performance. Li-ion batteries do not need to be “broken in” or primed in any way. They self-discharge much slower than other batteries, require less maintenance, and have a higher energy density, which means they can provide more power relative to their weight.
Li-Ion Battery Safety Issues
Inevitably, new technology brings new safety concerns. According to the International Organization for Standardization (IOS), one of the main safety issues concerning battery-powered electric vehicles is the on-board electrical energy storage, i.e., the Li-ion battery.
Li-ion batteries require a special protective circuit to prevent discharging the battery completely. Completely discharging any battery is dangerous, and Li-ion batteries are no different. Copper within the battery can dissolve into the electrolyte of the battery. Then when trying to charge the battery, the copper could cause dendrites to form, which in turn may cause a battery to short circuit. A short circuit in a battery, especially a battery that is strong enough to power a car, is a significant fire and explosion risk. This is one of the ways that smaller battery-powered electronics such as cellphones, electric toothbrushes, and laptops have been known to catch on fire or explode.
Cases involving battery explosions are some of the more highly complicated and expensive cases to litigate (and typically, it is the attorneys who have to front all the costs for these cases). Consequently, at Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A., our attorneys handle lithium-ion battery explosion and fire cases only when the explosion or fire resulted in:
- Catastrophic physical injuries, or
If you or someone you love suffered a catastrophic injury or death as a result of a lithium-ion battery explosion or fire in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, or anywhere else in Florida, contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation.
Lithium-Ion Battery Fires
One of the problems with Li-ion batteries is that they are very difficult to extinguish once they are set ablaze. The New York Fire Department reported that between January 1st 2022 and August 3rd 2022, there have been 66 injuries and 5 deaths in fires involving Lithium-ion batteries in New York City alone.
These types of fires do not require oxygen to burn. They are considered chemical fires and cannot always be extinguished by smothering the flames, dousing them with the standard amount of water, or spraying them with traditional foam extinguishers. Although water has been proven to work for putting out these fires, it takes significantly more water than a typical fire. A Tesla in Texas caught fire this past April and firefighters used 28,000 gallons of water before the fire finally was stopped. To compare, it normally requires only about 500 to 1,000 gallons of water to put out a car fire. In addition to the danger from the flames, the fumes from the fire are highly toxic, as well.
When a lithium-ion battery explodes, the results can be truly catastrophic. If you or someone you love suffered a catastrophic injury, or even died, as a result of a battery fire, call our office today to discuss your case. Our attorneys have many years of experience taking on Fortune 500 companies in complex battery explosion cases.
Lithium-Ion Battery Lawsuits
Lithium-ion batteries can explode for a variety of reasons, including:
- Battery design defects
- Battery manufacturing or production defects
- Battery pack failures
- Improper installation of the batteries
In Florida, Li-ion battery explosions may cause manufacturers of the batteries to be liable under theories of negligence or strict liability.
In a products liability negligence case, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty under the law to protect persons such as the plaintiff from unreasonable risks, that the defendant breached that duty, that the defendant’s breach of its duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and that the plaintiff suffered actual damages.
Under strict liability in Florida, products can be defective because of a design or manufacturing defect.
- Design defect. A product has a design defect when its design renders the product unreasonably dangerous even when the product is used in the way it is intended to be used. One of the central questions in design defect cases is whether a defective design of a product made the product unreasonably dangerous in its ordinary use. For example, is there something about a Li-ion battery that, even when it is used exactly as it was intended to be used (i.e., to power an electric vehicle), renders the battery unreasonably dangerous to consumers? In the last few years, we’ve seen multiple lawsuits filed accusing Tesla of installing defective battery packs in their vehicles that exploded and caused deadly fires after car collisions.
- Manufacturing defect. A manufacturing defect occurs when a particular unit of a product is unreasonably dangerous because of some error or defect in the manufacturing of that specific unit that causes it to be different from the intended product design, and to fail to perform as safely as it would have had it been manufactured in accordance with the intended design.
Florida law also requires manufacturers to provide adequate warnings where its product is inherently dangerous or has dangerous propensities.
In a strict liability case, the burden of proving specific acts of negligent is eliminated. The focus is on whether the product itself is unreasonably dangerous.
Experienced Broward County Product Liability Lawyers
Product liability cases present extremely complex legal and factual issues that not every lawyer is capable of effectively handling.
Our attorneys have decades of experience representing individuals who suffered catastrophic losses due to defective products. If you or someone you love has suffered catastrophic personal injuries or death after a lithium-ion battery explosion that occurred anywhere in Florida, call our office today at (954) 833-1440 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.
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We’ve had more than 30 cases that have settled or resulted in jury verdicts of one million dollars or more.
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