The safety of lithium-ion batteries has caused significant concern among consumers, as well as manufacturers. Battery defects have caused thousands of injuries. In Illinois, a McHenry County personal injury attorney commonly sees consumer injuries that are caused by defective products.
Lithium-ion batteries are popular with manufacturers because they store a lot of energy in a tiny space. Batteries contain combustible particles that move back and forth between a negative and positive electrode as they charge and discharge. Batteries can quickly recharge repeatedly without wearing out, but they generate a significant amount of heat. If the heat is not properly controlled or if the battery is punctured, compounds inside the battery cell can catch fire or explode.
Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in airplanes, electric cars, computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices including e-cigarettes. Over the past few years, fires and explosions caused by lithium-ion batteries have resulted in numerous product recalls across the country. In Illinois, many defective product claims have led to lawsuits filed by a McHenry County personal injury attorney.
The Dangers of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Recently, the dangers of lithium-ion battery in smartphones and e-cigarettes have been widely publicized, but these batteries pose many other risks:
- Airplanes - There have been numerous aircraft fires caused by lithium batteries. Most commercial airlines no longer allow lithium-ion powered electronic devices as cargo. Some airlines have banned the use of iPhones and smartphones during flights.
- Electric Cars - In August 2016, a Tesla Model S electric car caught fire during a promotional tour in France. Tesla is working with authorities to determine the cause of the fire, suspected to be related to lithium-ion batteries.
- Computers - In June 2016, Hewlett Packard recalled approximately 50,000 HP Compaq and Compaq Presario, HP Pavilion, HP ENVY and HP ProBook computers after consumer complaints of overheating, melting, and charring battery packs.
- Smartphones - In September 2016, Samsung Electronics recalled 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones that burst into flames due to flaws in the battery cells. As a result, millions of consumers suffered serious burns and personal injuries. In Illinois, injuries prompted many consumers to file personal injury claims with a McHenry County personal injury attorney.
- Hoverboards - According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hoverboards have been linked to at least 99 electrical fires in the U.S. Since hoverboards need significant energy to run, they are considered high-risk products for battery fires.