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Who Is Responsible For Injuries Caused By Battery Explosions?

Could there be a danger hiding among your holiday gifts? If anything you give or receive contains lithium ion batteries, it's a possibility.

Lithium-ion batteries, which are used in digital cameras, vape pens, some watches, personal electronics, remote control toys, hoverboards, remote car locks, and MP3 players—among other things—have been causing problems for years. While effective and long-lasting, they can also be quite volatile. Here are the things you should know.

Sloppy manufacturing can lead to fires and explosions.

The problem with lithium-ion batteries is usually traced back to shoddy manufacturing techniques. There's a small slip of polypropylene inside each battery that keeps two tiny electrodes from touching. If that slip of polypropylene is missing or out of place, the ends can connect, create a thermal runway, and heat up.

The batteries also contain a flammable electrolyte that can actually explode once it gets hot enough. The liquid inside the battery is also highly corrosive, which causes problems for victims when it gets on their skin.

That's why so many injuries involving vape pens have been reported. Many of those devices are manufactured in other countries, where oversight of the manufacturing process is not as rigorous. People have suffered serious burns when the vaping devices catch fire in their pockets or explode while they're being used.

In general, however, anything you own with a lithium-ion battery has the potential to explode. The Samsung Galaxy 7, for example, was rife with problems and caused several fires due to problems with its battery—and Samsung is usually considered a reliable manufacturer.

Liability for any damages or injuries can fall on several parties.

If you've been injured due to an explosion or fire caused by a defective lithium-ion battery, it will take an experienced personal injury attorney's understanding of the law to guide you. Under product liability laws, anybody in the supply chain—which could include the designer, the manufacturer, the distributor, and the retail store that sold the device—could potentially be liable for your injuries. 

Even if you used an aftermarket battery to replace your original battery in an older device, you shouldn't assume that you can't hold anyone responsible for your injuries until after you've talked to an attorney. While the manufacturer of your device may have instructed you to use only brand-name replacements that it authorizes, the manufacturer of the replacement battery you used may not have given you adequate warning of your real danger.

Go to sites of local personal injury law offices for more information.