Are Lithium-Ion Batteries Causing More Fires in California?
Many hazards can spark fires in California, but one of the most common culprits in the modern age is the ubiquitous lithium-ion battery. These batteries are found in almost every electrical item imaginable, from electric vehicles to e-bikes, scooters, toys, and all kinds of other gadgets. Despite the fact that these rechargeable batteries provide us with an excellent source of power, they may also suffer from a range of defects. Perhaps the worst of these defects is that they can lead to fires and even explosions – often while they are charging unsupervised.
A wide range of fires in California have been caused by lithium-ion batteries, and several other blazes may have been caused by these items, though there is insufficient evidence to prove it. Sometimes, these fires set entire apartment blocks ablaze, leading to widespread property damage, injuries, and even fatalities. In other cases, lithium-ion batteries have the potential to start wildfires or fires in residential neighborhoods. Whatever the case may be, injured victims should remember that if a fire is sparked by a defective product, it is theoretically possible to sue the manufacturer for compensation. This is a potential strategy that you can explore alongside an experienced personal injury attorney in California.
Numerous Fires in California Have Been Linked to Lithium-Ion Batteries
Despite lithium-ion batteries emerging fairly recently, they have already been linked to numerous California fires. On February 7, 2023, it was reported that a fire on board an airplane forced the flight to return to California mid-air. The fire was sparked by a battery pack that belonged to one of the passengers. After the battery ignited, smoke spread throughout the cabin and put people in serious danger. All of the individuals hospitalized were staff members of United Airlines who put themselves in danger while attempting to contain the fire.
A total of seven people were injured with issues such as smoke inhalation. According to the NBC report, lithium-ion batteries are resistant to traditional fire-fighting techniques because of various chemical characteristics. They may also produce fumes that are more toxic compared to normal smoke.
Tesla Catches Fire on California Highway for Seemingly No Reason
In January 2023, it was reported that a Tesla automobile “spontaneously” erupted into flames while traveling down a California freeway. No one could figure out why the car caught fire, but it seems that the blaze originated in the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery system. Firefighters soon discovered that this fire was especially difficult to address, and it was only after they poured 6,000 gallons of water on the blaze that it finally fizzled out.
It is a miracle no one was injured, but this incident highlights the surprising dangers associated with electric vehicles. Although these battery fires most often occur when the vehicle is charging, they can also occur with no apparent warning while the vehicle is in motion.
Numerous Fires in San Francisco Linked to e-Bikes and Other Devices
According to a recent report by the New York Times, several fires in San Francisco have been linked to e-bikes and other devices powered by lithium-ion batteries. The report was published in June 2023, and it suggests that at least 24 fires within the calendar year were sparked by such devices. In at least one fire, two people were forced to leap from the windows of their apartments in order to avoid being consumed by the flames. Firefighters later concluded that the blaze was probably sparked by a charging scooter.
These incidents are also proving common in other major cities, such as New York City. Recently, New York’s chief of hazmat operations warned Americans that:
“All it takes is for one small battery cell to be defective, overcharged, or damaged, and a tremendous amount of energy is released in the form of heat and toxic flammable gasses all at once.”
Three-Alarm Fire Breaks Out in San Francisco Apartment
On August 9, 2023, a fire was reported in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset neighborhood. The fire, which occurred at an apartment building, miraculously resulted in zero injuries. However, it affected three structures and caused serious property damage. Seven apartment dwellers were rendered homeless by the incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation, and we can only speculate as to what sparked the blaze. Could it have been caused by a lithium-ion battery? Judging by the staggering number of lithium-ion fires within the past year, this is certainly a possibility.
Suing a Manufacturer for a Lithium-Ion Fire Injury
If you have suffered injuries due to a fire caused by a lithium-ion battery, it may be possible to sue the manufacturer of the defective product. It goes without saying that products are not meant to spontaneously burst into flames, whether they are passenger vehicles, scooters, e-bikes, or anything else. Even if you left your item charging unattended, the assumption is that it will not explode.
When plaintiffs sue product manufacturers for defective products, this is known as a “product liability” claim. One of the most notable aspects of a product liability lawsuit is that manufacturers can be held strictly liable. This means that it is not altogether necessary for injured plaintiffs to establish that a manufacturer was negligent. Plaintiffs only need to establish that the injury was caused by the product in order to pursue compensation.
Where Can I Find a Personal Injury Attorney in California?
If you have been searching for a qualified personal injury attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs throughout the Golden State, including those who have been harmed by fires. Whether your fire injury was caused by a lithium-ion battery, an arsonist, inadequate fire safety systems, or any other factor, you may have the opportunity to pursue compensation for your damages.
If you have lost a loved one in a fire, you may also file a wrongful death lawsuit against negligent parties. Book your consultation today to discuss your legal options and take your first steps toward justice and compensation.