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Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more prevalent in every corner of the United States, and this is because they are longer lasting than alkaline-based batteries. What is far less commonly known is that Lithium-ion batteries (a/k/a “LIBs”) can be very dangerous—more so than most people would believe. At the end of February 2024 a journalist in New York City was killed by a Lithium battery which started an apartment fire.

The industries using Lithium batteries are not speaking out and warning that the product they sell you can overheat, cause a fire, or outright explode. Lithium batteries are being used in devices as small as vape pens, cameras, cell phones, laptops, and also in bigger devices like e-bikes, rental scooters, hoverboards, electric vehicles, and home energy storage units. The device in New York City that caused the journalist’s death was an e-bike.


There are two types of Lithium batteries: non-rechargeable single use batteries, and the rechargeable batteries. Lithium Primary Batteries (are non-rechargeable) can be found as AA/AAA, C, D, Coin/Button cell, and 9v. However,  Lithium-Ion batteries may be marked “Rechargeable,” “Lithium Ion,” “LiION,” “Li-ion,” “Li-Ion”, and they may or may not have a battery seal or other mark. Lithium batteries can cause fires and even explode. Problems with Lithium batteries can occur when they are over-charged, when they are over-used beyond expected frequency, when they are damaged, and when they are outright defective. In the recent death case in New York City, the NYC Fire Department noted that e-bikes in particular are being used at rates—like for commercial deliveries—higher than expected by the manufacturers. FDNY notes that in an e-bike there is 100 times the amount of Lithium in a typical e-bike as in your cell phone. When the packaging fails that is holding the battery elements intact, it can cause tremendous heat, emission of gases, or a fire, or an explosion.

For this reason FDNY cautions against charging an e-bike at night while you sleep. They also caution against leaving an e-bike at the front door—especially if that is the only way out of the residence or apartment. FDNY also cautions people to recognize whether a business may be near them which has a high usage or concentration of Lithium batteries—like a bike shop. FDNY—which has the largest fire department in the country—cautions against thinking that an e-bike bought from Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, etc., will be vetted and found safe. Right now the laws have not caught up with the explosion in popularity of e-bikes and other forms of “micro-mobility devices”, like e-scooters, hoverboards, etc. FDNY points out that many of these products are imports and have not been approved by Underwriters Laboratory before being sold to the public.


Product liability laws protect and compensate consumers who have been harmed or families of  those who have been killed by a defective product such as those that contain defective Lithium-ion batteries. In many states, not only can the manufacturer of the battery and the manufacturer of the product be held accountable for the injuries and losses, but also the distributor may be held accountable depending upon which state the product was sold. What this means is that the injured person—or their family—may be able to recover against the U.S.-based seller and/or distributor of the defective product rather than chasing the manufacturer in a foreign country.

If you or a family member have been injured by a Lithium-ion battery, or had significant property damage arise as a result of a Lithium-ion battery or device containing such a battery, contact us to learn your rights. Lithium-ion batteries are dangerous and the public is not being informed by the manufacturers and distributors of the risks of these batteries.

CONTACT US NOW AT to learn your rights.

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