Electric Vehicle Battery-Fueled Fires More Deadly Than Gas-Powered, Experts Warn
- Posted by Taylor Ernst on
- August 5, 2021
California Family’s Home Burns Down Due to Tesla Fire in Garage
A series of high-profile lawsuits involving well-known electric vehicle manufacturers Audi, Tesla, and Chevrolet has brought into question the companies’ claims that their cars are less likely to catch fire than gas-powered vehicles.
Safety experts warn that although electric vehicles may not catch fire as easily, any fire that does erupt can burn more intensely and take as long as 24 hours to extinguish.
One of the most recent large-scale fires involved two Teslas left to charge overnight in a garage. The Californian couple who owned the vehicles awoke early one morning last December to the sound of blaring car alarms. They smelled smoke; there was a fire in the house. The fire had started in one Tesla Model S and spread quickly to the other. The vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries amplified the blaze, making the fire burn longer and hotter than a gas-fueled explosion would have.
The couple has not been able to return to their home, which suffered more than $1 million in damages.
The double-vehicle fire makes this a unique case, but it’s only the latest in a string of recent incidents involving electric vehicles bursting into flames. Electric vehicle manufacturers are warning owners not to leave their cars charging unattended in certain circumstances or leaving them fully charged in garages. General Motors, Audi, and Hyundai have recalled hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles following reports of battery fires.
Electric vehicle fires are deadly and have already claimed the lives of dozens of Americans. If you were injured or a loved one killed in an electric vehicle fire, you may be able to hold the manufacturer liable for damages.
Ernst Law Group is a California law firm specializing in product liability. We’ll help you hold the manufacturer accountable for producing and distributing unsafe or defective vehicles. If you’ve suffered any damages from a Tesla, contact our Tesla defect and Tesla autopilot crash lawyers today for a free consultation.
Recent Product Recalls to Be Aware Of
- Posted by Taylor Ernst on
- April 16, 2018
When a consumer purchases a product for themselves or someone else, they have the right to expect that the product, when used appropriately, won’t pose a danger. Unfortunately, people are harmed by defective products everyday.
When manufacturers are made aware of these defects, they typically issue a recall of the product. Here are some of the most recent recalls you should be aware of.
Paw Patrol Marshall Hat
Although Halloween is over, the popularity of Paw Patrol may influence little ones to still be wearing part of their costume. The Marshall Hat, sold as part of Spirit Halloween’s costume, also included a flashlight. This flashlight has a piece causing a problem. The batteries in the flashlight can overheat, causing a burn hazard. Any of the approximately 20,000 consumers who purchased the product are entitled to a refund and can call (866) 586-0155 for more information.
Vornado Air Space Heaters
Certain electric space heaters have been recalled due to the potential for overheating, which can lead to fire. About 350,000 of these heaters were sold throughout the country, and consumers should cease use immediately. The company is offering a full refund or replacement, asking consumers to contact (855) 215-5131 for more information and instructions.
Scotch Thermal Laminators
Loved by teachers, parents and crafters alike, this popular little laminator typically has no issue. Unfortunately, 3M has had to issue a recall of approximately 395,000 units. This recall is due to overheating in the plastic casing posing a burn hazard. If you have purchased one of these laminators, call (800) 772-4337 for a full refund.
Polaris RZR XP 1000 ROV
Smaller, off-road vehicles are popular, and Polaris is one of the top manufacturers of these machines. There were about 107,000 RZR XP 1000s sold, and they have been recalled. Anyone who purchased or has one of these vehicles should contact their Polaris dealer to schedule a free repair of the exhaust silencer to prevent a fire.
H-E-B Halogen Lightbulbs
There are about 2.5 million of these lightbulbs that have been purchased. Anyone who is using one or more should cease that use and return the bulb(s) to H-E-B for a full refund. The bulbs are known to have an issue that may cause them to shatter when in use. Call (800) 432-3113 for more information.
Kidde Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm
We purchase smoke alarms to keep our families safe. If you have purchased a dual smoke alarm from Kidde, you need to look at it closely. If you look inside the unit and see a yellow cap, that cap could prevent the detector from working properly. You can call (833) 551-7739 for more information about the model numbers affected and learn how to obtain a replacement.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product in San Luis Obispo, you have legal rights. Reach out to our team today to discover more about your options, and let us help you hold the negligent party responsible. We will speak to you at no cost and help you make the best decisions regarding your case.
New Silica Rule to Stay in Place
- Posted by Taylor Ernst on
- January 16, 2018
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its final rule regarding respirable crystalline silica exposure on December 22. The high court rejected all industry challenges.
The rule that will remain in effect for the construction industry reduces the permissible exposure limit meant to keep workers safe. The limit is now set at an average of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air over a typical 8-hour workday. The provisions will be put in place on June 23, 2018.
Groups asked the high court to review five key issues:
- Will reduced PEL cause a significant decrease in health with regards to silica exposure?
- Is the rule “technologically feasible for the foundry, hydraulic fracturing and construction industries”?
- Is the rule economically feasible for those industries?
- Has OSHA violated the Administrative Procedure Act?
- And questions regarding evidence supporting two ancillary provisions
What Is Crystalline Silica?
Quartz is the most common type of crystalline silica. It is a natural material found in sand, stone and soil. When it is in dust form and can be breathed in, it is called respirable crystalline silica. This respirable crystalline silica is often found on construction sites, as a byproduct of blasting, digging and other activities that are disruptive to the earth, concrete or brick.
Cancer and Crystalline Silica
There is an elevated risk of lung cancer for people who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. Lung cancer has been linked to exposure for people who work in industries involving pottery, refractory brick and more.
Lung cancer isn’t the only risk for those exposed to respirable crystalline silica. Silicosis is a condition that is separated into three classes: acute, accelerated and chronic/classic. Acute silicosis occurs within a few months or as long as two years following exposure. Accelerated silicosis occurs within 5 to 10 years of high levels of exposure. Chronic/classic silicosis occurs after 15 to 20 years of low to moderate exposure.
Silicosis is a condition that causes scar tissue in the lungs. This scar tissue makes it difficult for the lungs to take in adequate amounts of oxygen, making it difficult for people with the condition to breathe normally. There is no cure for silicosis.
Those in the construction industry and in other industries in which workers are routinely experienced to silica dust should provide safety equipment to reduce that exposure. Employees should be giving training in safe practices and meals should not be eaten in areas where crystalline silica is present.
If you believe that you have been exposed to silica at your place of employment in San Luis Obispo and have suffered illness as a result, please contact our office. We have experience standing up for injured workers and we will put our knowledge to work for you. Call today to arrange for your free case evaluation.
Who Is Liable in a Drug Overdose?
- Posted by Taylor Ernst on
- November 17, 2016
Over the past year, there have been hundreds of news articles explaining that America is currently in the worst heroin epidemic in our nation’s history. From 2012 to 2013, heroin overdose deaths rose by nearly 40 percent. More recently, a new strain of heroin mixed with carfentanil — a.k.a. elephant tranquilizer — has hit the streets. One county in Ohio alone saw 35 overdoses, including six deaths, in just a three-day span. While the effects of heroin, with or without carfentanil, are devastating, the sad truth is that most people don’t just decide one day to start using the drug.
It’s estimated that about 75 percent of all heroin users first got addicted to prescription opioids, which are painkillers. They may have been given the prescription after a surgery or an injury, or maybe were given one by a friend at a party once. Regardless, when that supply ran dry, or when the body stopped feeling the effects as much, that person turned to heroin to get their fix. The federal government is taking a stand and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to eradicate this epidemic, but families are looking for immediate answers — sometimes in the form of lawsuits.
Why Prescription Drugs Are Addictive
Most people learned about the dangers of drugs like opioids and heroin in elementary and middle school (remember D.A.R.E.?). These drugs are easy to overdose on, and withdrawals can be just as deadly. Opioids work because they block pain receptors in the brain. While this is great for those dealing with injuries or the aftermath of surgery, they can be easily abused. That’s because, by blocking pain, they give the user a sense of euphoria.
As a user takes opioids more and more, they build a tolerance to their effects. The brain has a natural opioid system, and taking these drugs for long periods of time desensitizes that system. To compensate, the user takes higher and higher doses, or moves on to a new drug altogether. As higher doses of drugs are taken, the risk of overdose grows exponentially.
The Doctor’s Liability
A recent song from the rapper Macklemore about the heroin epidemic contains the line, “My drug dealer was a doctor… He said that he would heal me, but he only gave me problems.” This is a pretty common story across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend doctors only prescribe opioids for three days, maximum. However, 99 percent of doctors over-prescribe opiates, which has fed into the national epidemic. What’s worse, there are non-addictive alternatives to these pain killers, but they are often overlooked.
When a doctor over-prescribes opiates, and doesn’t take into consideration the patient’s medical history and the benefits vs. risks of the drugs, they may be held liable in the event of an overdose or other harm. Certain criteria must be met, however.
- The drug was taken according to the doctor’s directions
- In a failure-to-warn case, the doctor must have not advised you of the potential side effects
- In a dispensing error case, you must prove that the medicine you took was different than the medicine you were prescribed, which can include dosage
- In a wrongful administration case, you must prove that the nurse either gave you the wrong medicine, or gave it to you in the wrong way.
- You must have expert testimony linking the medicine to the overdose or other harm
Can You Hold a Street Drug Dealer Liable?
While this is a gray area that is being explored more and more across the nation, there have been instances where a person’s drug dealer has been held liable in the event of an overdose. In some cases, prosecutors have even held dealers liable for murder. However, it is hard to make these charges stick, as first-degree murder requires intent. But, second-degree murder (acting with no concern for human life) and manslaughter have proven to be successful charges.
Even more “innocently,” those who host party at which drugs are taken may be held liable for an overdose in the State of California. Under Civil Code section 1714(d), hosts can be held liable for alcohol-related damage at a party. By the spirit of the law, such liability could be extended to cover drugs as well. If you host a party at which heroin, opioids or other drugs are consumed, you may be held responsible for any overdose or death.
As our nation battles one of the worst drug epidemics in our history, new laws are being written to more easily hold those responsible, accountable. If you or a loved one has suffered an overdose in California due to prescription opiates, heroin or another drug, you may be able to recover compensation. Contact Ernst Law Group today for a free consultation and to learn more about your options.