As trial lawyers in Asheville, NC, we’ve seen our share of injuries caused by e-cigarette explosions. And these accidents can cause serious personal injuries and even deaths. While most e-Cigarette explosions are because of batteries, these cases can be complex for multiple factors.
Anything that uses batteries has the potential to literally blow up in your face (or your pocket). So, knowing about battery failures may help people avoid injuries in the first place.
Fisher Stark, P.A., understands the hazards of vapes and e-cigs as well as other battery-powered devices.
Why do e-cigarettes explode
e-Cigs are vaporizers. They take a liquid and heat it just to the point of vaporization. Inhaling vapor is called “vaping.” Vaping uses heating elements to create this vapor the way normal cigarettes use fire to produce smoke. And e-cig heating elements (or “coils”) are powered by batteries. Consequently, these two e-cig parts, or “Mods,” typically rest right next to each other in most e-cigarette designs.
Most vaporizer injuries occur as a result of batteries overheating to the point of exploding. And explosions can happen in your pocket, or it in your face. Plus, batteries have a corrosive nature. So, exploding batteries can result in various degrees of chemical and/or fire burns as well as damage to body and property.
How does a battery become dangerous?
Each case is unique, but there are some similarities among exploding battery injuries. For example, most batteries have similar composition in that there is chemistry. So, batteries generate power using chemicals, which can be corrosive (on top of explosive). Also, most batteries have a metal casing. Put an explosive core inside a metal casing and you get shrapnel. Consequently, metal fragments as well as burns from chemicals and fire are what make e-cig battery explosions so dangerous.
So, knowing about using battery power may help avoid injuries (or even death) in the first place.
Most e-cigarettes and vaporizers have a USB port for charging batteries. However, the universal USB port allows people to connect their e-cig into adapters not provided by the manufacturer. And all USB ports, cables, and plugs are NOT created equally. Providing adequate warnings about charging limitations is the responsibility of the device manufacturer.
And manufacturers know that the voltage and current provided by USB equipment can vary significantly. So, in general, each end of a USB cable uses a different kind of connector. Consequently, an inappropriate charging device can lead to thermal runaway. This technical term means a rapid, uncontrolled increase in temperature. And the usual result of thermal runaway is an explosion and/or fire.
There is also concern that an e-cig heating element powered by an overheating battery can act as an ignition source. Consequently, some personal vaporizers (PVs) have automatic shutoffs. Therefore, limiting the time an e-cigarette’s heating element stays on can avoid overheating. Preventing overheating should avoid PV and e-cig injuries from burns or explosions, but not all devices have this feature.
Often e-cigs have no safety testing. And many e-cigarette mods are made by multiple manufacturers in a variety of countries. So, there is often no assurance that electrical circuits will safely function. And homemade e-cig mods may allow for tampering too. Consequently, there may be no built in overheating protection. Such mods can be dangerous from potential explosions, especially with unprotected batteries.
Many types of batteries are used as e-cigarette mods. Consequently, making e-cig batteries also happens by many manufacturers in multiple countries. And quality varies from one manufacturer to the next. As a result, batteries like the 18650 have been known to explode. And exploding batteries can catch fire, burning at extreme temperatures from 900 to 5000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, many lithium ion batteries are unprotected, especially the cheaper ones. That means there is no fail-safe mechanism to prevent thermal runaway. Therefore, an overheated lithium ion battery can cause fires and/or explosions resulting in burns, abrasions, lacerations and destruction of property.
Have you been in injured?
Given the nature and complexity of the personal injury claims process, getting help from experienced personal injury lawyers quickly can help your case get maximum awards for medical expenses, pain & suffering, as well as punitive damages if warranted.
The personal injury attorneys at Fisher Stark, P.A., are experienced with e-cigarette battery explosion injuries. We help injured people and their families navigate the complex world of personal injury claims.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of e-cigarettes, you can use our Contact Us page or call 828-505-4300 today for a free consultation. We can walk walk victims of personal injuries through the process, exploring whether you have a potential case.
Don’t hesitate! Getting the help of an experienced personal injury attorney early in the process often increases the odds of a successful claim that covers medical bills, time lost at work and even pain and suffering.