Electronic vehicles have become more popular in recent years, with their rechargeable batteries being lauded as environmentally friendlier than traditional gas-powered engines. Just like laptops, phones, and other rechargeable devices, these cars utilize lithium-ion batteries to run on renewable energy.
While their perks exist, lithium-ion batteries in any device are known for causing significant injuries and even death when ignited. In the past several years, lithium-ion batteries were found to be the catalyst for many product liability cases, including the infamous hoverboard and cell phone fires. Due to the suddenness of the fires, there’s no reliable way to foresee injury, which is why these batteries are particularly dangerous.
Attorney Scott Righthand has successfully litigated numerous cases involving injuries and wrongful deaths, including those caused by lithium-ion batteries. Our firm is dedicated to serving clients handling catastrophic injury or wrongful death cases. These matters carry significant ramifications, as seen in a recent lawsuit against Tesla.
The incident involves a Tesla Model S that crashed, ignited and killed the driver, 44-year-old Omar Awan, in southern Florida. Reports state that Awan swerved across three lanes, went over a curb and crashed into nearby palm trees. According to an autopsy report, Awan survived the impact, but the car’s battery soon caught fire. The car’s automatic doors and retractable handles malfunctioned, so the handles were inaccessible during the crash, as Awan’s family claims. Neither bystanders nor emergency personnel could open the car due to the malfunctioning retractable handles. Essentially, the car acted as a “death trap” from which Awan could not escape, as the lawsuit states. Awan passed away due to smoke inhalation.
Awan’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Telsa, blaming Awan’s death on the Tesla Model S’s problematic design. There was no way for Awan to escape the burning car since the door handles remained retracted, failing to present like they were supposed to automatically. Furthermore, the lawsuit noted that the Tesla Model S’s marketing centered around its high safety rankings, which allegedly topped all other tested cars.
A particularly concerning part of this case is the involvement of a lithium-ion battery. After years of incidents, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fires, it’s become apparent that these batteries pose significant danger considering their proneness to overheating and combustion. In fact, Tesla has had an ongoing problem with their cars’ lithium-ion batteries for several years, with parked cars catching fire seemingly out of nowhere. Considering the number of cases, it’s apparent that the batteries pose an unnecessary risk for individuals to have the misfortune of being involved in a crash.
Any wrongful death case requires a competent personal injury attorney to navigate the situation for you, especially when they involve the negligence of a manufacturer. Awan’s case demonstrates the complexities of lithium-ion battery fires: such a case may be considered a catastrophic injury or a wrongful death but is sometimes treated as a product liability case as well. The categorization depends on the unique circumstances surrounding the incident.
You can see how lithium-ion battery fires lead to dangerous situations that may end in tragedy. The Amar family’s lawsuit is only one example of many wrongful death cases that have happened because of a lithium-ion battery fire. As always, call The Law Office of Scott Righthand, P.C., if you or someone important to you was catastrophically injured as a result of someone’s negligence.
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