Offering Quality Product Liability Counsel in Missouri & Illinois
Most people are at least vaguely aware of the saga of the Samsung Note 7. It was a really beautiful, state-of-the-art Android phone produced and marketed by Samsung Electronics in 2016 and was generally well-received. Then it started catching on fire. Samsung recalled the phones and replaced them with new ones, but then the new ones caught on fire, too. If you or a loved one were injured as a result of this defective product, our team at The Dixon Injury Firm is here to help. Our St. Louis Samsung battery explosion claims attorneys bring proven legal counsel to clients and their families.
To learn more, give our St. Louis product liability injury accident lawyers a call at (314) 208-2808 or Contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
The Basics of Product Liability
Companies that make and sell products can be liable for three different types of problems, and anyone that is considering a Samsung battery explosion claim needs to understand the differences. The first type of product liability is manufacturing defects. This is a situation where the product was designed safely, but something happened in the manufacturing process to damage it or make it dangerous. For example, Fiat Chrysler was recently sued for failing to clean up its engine blocks enough in the manufacturing process leaving sludge to build up in the engine and cause damage.
The second category of product liability is defective design. This means a product has a fatal flaw in its design, and even if manufactured properly it would not work right. For example, Piper Aircraft has faced lawsuits related to the “stabilator” on many of its small airplanes. This movable rear wing is, some say, too weakly reinforced and may have caused many airplanes to break in flight.
The final type of product liability is a failure to warn. These cases involve products that were designed and manufactured correctly, but still have risks that should be disclosed. Professional football players, for example, have sued a company called Riddell that makes helmets for failing to warn them of the risks to their brain that would not be prevented by wearing the helmets.
Anatomy of the Note 7 Fires
As CNET explains, the original Note 7 suffered from a design defect. It had a lithium-ion battery, the same as most modern electronics. This battery is made up of a pouch that contains a flammable lithium-based electrolyte plus a positive electrode and a negative electrode. It is very important that the two electrodes never touch, because if they cause a short circuit that can cause the battery to get very hot and even explode. The pouch of the original Note 7 contained a small separator between the two electrodes that grew weak over time during the battery’s normal expansion and contraction. Eventually, the electrodes in many phones would eventually touch and cause heat or even a fire.
After the fires started, Samsung quickly produced replacement phones with new batteries. Unfortunately for Samsung, its replacement Note 7s suffered from manufacturing defects. The new batteries were welded together poorly and left a small piece of the positive electrode sticking out. This would poke through the insulating material in many phones and reach the negative electrode and cause the same short-circuiting event as the original battery. Worse, an investigation found that many of the second batteries actually completely lacked the insulating layer between the positive and negative elements. Because Samsung was unable to quickly produce safe replacement phones, it completely discontinued the Note 7 line, which had been its best-selling phone up until that point.
Other Product Explosion Claims
Lithium batteries are everywhere and all around us. They exist in almost every electronic product we use, from your cell phone to your toothbrush. If someone has a device that you plug in and charge, it likely has a lithium-ion battery.
These batteries come in a wide disparity of quality and safety. Defective lithium batteries can cause devastating injuries. Fortunately, many victims can recover compensation by filing a product liability claim.
What is a Product Liability Claim for an Exploding Battery?
Product liability law operates to compensate people who are victims of defective products.
Product liability claims fall into one of three broad categories:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Marketing defects, also known as failure to warn claims
If you have suffered injuries due to using or being near a defective lithium-ion battery, you should call a lawyer immediately. A personal injury attorney in St. Louis and Metro East areas can pursue damages on your behalf.
Claims related to exploding or overheating batteries can be design or manufacturing defect claims. Manufacturing defects occur when a product is typically safe, but one rare instance of that product comes off the assembly line incorrectly.
On the other hand, design defects typically affect the entire product. For example, if one battery in a batch had a structural problem that resulted in overheating, a manufacturing defect would likely cause it. Poor battery engineering would cause a design defect.
What causes lithium batteries to be dangerous?
Since there are a variety of lithium-ion battery manufacturers, it is vital to know that only some are reliable and safe. While defects and explosions can occur at any time, many of the devices we use daily have built-in safety features that significantly reduce explosion risks.
These safety features often include:
- Non-flammable materials added to the battery coatings
- In-battery circuitry that prevents surges in current
- Thermal fuses
That said, safety features vary widely from device to device and manufacturer to manufacturer. As a result, any lithium-ion battery can contain defects and cause serious injuries.
How do batteries explode?
In most cases, thermal runaway causes lithium-ion battery explosions or fires. Thermal runaway occurs when a failure allows the battery to heat up, causing a very fast-moving chemical reaction. When this happens, the battery rapidly releases all of its energy. This can cause an explosion or sufficient heat to inflame nearby objects.
Defects that can cause thermal runaway and explosions include:
- Poor manufacturing
- Improper storage
- Using the battery in an inappropriate setting or device
- Defective circuitry
- Missing or defective safety mechanisms
Vape Pens and E-Cigarettes Can Pose Significant Risks
Vape pens, e-cigarettes, and related electronic nicotine delivery devices that use lithium-ion batteries can pose a significant risk of injury. Since the devices and lithium-ion batteries are often in individuals’ pockets, an explosion or fire can easily injure their thighs or genital areas. In addition, if a vape pen or e-cigarette explodes while it is in use near a user’s mouth, it can result in serious burns to the face.
Another aspect of vape pens that makes them so dangerous is that the long cylindrical shape of the pens can direct the force of an explosion into a user’s face. In cases involving explosions, the entire device heats up quickly and explodes when the battery heats up. Additionally, many vape pen batteries do not have the same safety features that you can find in cell phone or laptop batteries.
The U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission indicates that over 2,000 emergency room visits per year result directly from exploding and defective lithium-ion batteries in vape pens. The FDA suggests that vape pen manufacturers rework batteries to eliminate their likelihood of exploding.
It’s important to note that vape pens, e-cigarettes, and other electronic nicotine delivery devices also carry the risk of addiction. As a result, users may feel compelled to use them despite the risks associated with lithium-ion batteries and may even use them when there are obvious issues with the condition of the batteries in their devices.
Pursuing compensation after a battery explosion
If a lithium battery explodes and causes injuries, the attorneys of Dixon Injury Firm can help protect your rights and get you the compensation to which you are entitled.
Our lawyers can:
- Evaluate your case for evidence of a battery defect
- Assess your economic and non-economic losses
- Negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party or their insurer
- File a product liability claim for you
Remember to keep remnants of the device that caused your injuries and take pictures of the damaged device and your physical injuries. Our attorneys may use expert witnesses who analyze the remains of the device to determine the cause of your accident.
In addition, be sure to seek medical attention and follow your doctor’s orders as closely as possible. If you do not, the other side can argue that you failed to take steps to mitigate your injuries and avoid full liability for your losses.
Importantly, more than one party may be liable for your injuries after a lithium-ion battery explosion or fire. Under product liability law, you may hold manufacturers, retailers, or other parties involved in the chain of commerce accountable for accidents caused by defective products.
Call The Dixon Injury Firm About Your Samsung Battery Explosion Claims
Mr. Dixon represents clients at no charge to them, as he only gets paid if he successfully collects from the person (or company) that caused his client’s injuries. Chris Dixon is dedicated to helping injury victims put their lives back together.
Our attorneys can evaluate your claim and identify all potentially liable parties, improving your chances of getting the compensation to which the law entitles you.
Contact Dixon Injury Firm attorneys to schedule a free consultation. Defective lithium-ion batteries are capable of causing extremely serious injuries, including burns and traumatic amputations. Call us immediately if you believe you are the victim of an exploding battery due to a defective product. Our legal team is ready to stand up for your rights.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132
Phone: (314) 208-2808
I highly recommend Chris Dixon to anyone dealing with a personal injury case. He was there every step of the way, he was prompt and easy to get a hold of at any time during this process. He is very educated and highly skilled in his field and helped me receive the best medical attention possible. If you’re looking for the best personal injury in St. Louis, look no further. Chris Dixon, in my eyes, is the best!
– Ryan B.
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