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Tesla Car Battery Fire Attorneys

With electric vehicles becoming more prevalent on the road, the challenging vehicle fires that their batteries create are becoming more common.

Symbol of a car battery on fire

During the last week of June 2021, a Tesla Model S caught on fire in Pennsylvania while the owner was driving his new car. The car was delivered about a week before it caught on fire. The driver stated that he noticed smoke coming from the back of his car. When he tried to stop and exit his car the doors were initially locked. When he luckily was able to get out of the car, the car continued to drive forward on its own and burst into flames. Firefighters battled the flames for three hours. The car ended up in a mangled and unusable condition. The owner immediately filed a lawsuit against Tesla the first week of July. Although this case is still pending, many Tesla drivers are now left worried for their own lives.

The above news is not rare incidence. In the last couple years, Tesla has become the largest electric car vehicle manufacturer in the United States. We have seen an increase in electric car battery fires the last couple years as more and more electric cars end up on the road. In some cases, Tesla car batteries even erupted in a fire when the car was plugged in in the garage. Luckily, Tesla owners have options to seek reimbursement for their injuries sustained as a result of the car battery fire.

Currently, about 1.8% of cars on the road are electric, and IHS reports that this number will double by the end of this year. Further, 1 in 10 cars will be electric by 2025.

In a study done by NBC news, it takes about 300 gallons of water to extinguish a car that erupts into flames. However, an electric car requires about 25,000 gallons of water to be extinguished. Firefighters claim this makes it very difficult because many are not well equipped to carry 25,000 gallons of water to extinguish the more resilient fires that electric vehicle batteries are creating. Further, not all firefighters have been trained on how to extinguish a car fire. The National Fire Protection Association has trained about 250,000 firefighters as of now on how to extinguish electric car battery fires. But that is only 20% of firefighters in America.

This is also not just a national issue. Recently, Germany has also reported it has been very difficult to extinguish electric car battery fires. German firefighters claim they are not equipped to handle the large fires due to the lack of water sources. Currently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the above issue along with other electric vehicle car battery claims. They have been investigating these claims since 2020.

These claims involved round 36 car manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, Tesla, Nissan, and General Motors. As of today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that these manufacturers do not have safety regulations in place on how to prevent the severity of the fires. The administration claims the cars lack any type of device that could extinguish the flames. There is nothing in the model guide that states how to extinguish or deal with the fires. Other non-electric cars usually come with a statement or two in the guide that specifically explain how to extinguish the fire. As of now, the Tesla car model guide sates, “Use large amounts of water to cool the battery. Do not extinguish fire with a small amount of water.”

Safety problems with electric car batteries have been reported as early as 2011. The Chevrolet volt caught on fire in 2011 and it took firefighters hours extinguish it. The next instance was in 2017, when a Tesla Model X had caught on fire.

Why Do Tesla Batteries Catch on Fire?

Many analysts claim that the reason for the car battery fires is because of the damaged energy cells. The batteries are made from lithium ion, which is still a fairly new technology that has been introduced into the auto industry. Lithium-ion batteries are not the same as traditional lead batteries since they are stronger and charge faster. The battery is made up of several thousands of cells. When the energy cells are damaged, the temperatures in the battery rise to extraordinary levels, which caused it to catch on fire. Two main reasons why a cell could become damaged are either because of a manufacturing defect or because of an accident. The energy cells could even rise to such high levels even when the car is parked. So, there is always the danger that a car could reignite again. In 2017, after the firefighters had put out the flames of a Tesla Model X in Florida and had loaded the car onto a tow truck, the car reignited twice. Because of this recent news, firefighters must now stay behind 45 minutes to 1 hour at the scene after putting out the fire to make sure the car does not heat up and reignite again.

Future of Electric Vehicles

Many firefighters are now worried that with the popularity of electric cars comes larger batteries. Larger batteries will need even more water to extinguish, making it more difficult for fire departments in smaller cities.

Tesla has recently stated that one vehicle fire has been experienced a fire for every 205 million miles traveled. Regular gasoline powered cars experience a fire for every 19 million miles traveled. Nevertheless, Tesla battery fire accidents result in more serious injuries because of how long it takes to extinguish the fire.

If you or a loved one have been injured when driving an electric vehicle due to a battery fire, it is crucial to seek advice from an experienced personal injury attorney.

There are several claims one can make when filing a lawsuit for a Tesla battery fire accident. Claims can include, but are not limited to:

  • Products liability defect
    • Manufacturing defect: manufacturing defect is when there is a defect in one product that is not in accordance with the rest of the products
    • design defect: the way the car has been designed could be dangerous when used as intended
  • Negligence: in a negligence claim, the driver must show the Tesla had a duty to the driver to make conditions in the car safe, and failed to do so when the car’s battery lit on fire
  • Strict Liability: the driver could claim that the car is an abnormally dangerous condition and that is the cause of the driver’s injuries

These different Claims can vary based on what steps the driver took, how the car ignited, and various other factors.

Our attorneys will work to determine what specific strengths and weaknesses you have in your case and determine the best legal strategy. Our experienced Tesla battery fire Los Angeles attorneys will be able to handle your case in a realistic way and work to get the justice you deserve. We have offices located in all major cities, including Los Angeles, Irvine, Las Vegas, and Sacramento.

***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.

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