Tesla Car Battery Fires

Tesla Car Battery Fire Lawyers

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Tesla Car Battery Fire Lawyers

One of the most appealing things about a Tesla is its battery, which allows the car to travel hundreds of miles without a charge. That strength, though, could also be a liability. In November 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe into Tesla’s batteries, citing an “alarming number of car fires that have occurred worldwide.” Yes, Teslas have been going up in smoke. Some of these cars caught fire after a crash, but many were sitting in a garage. Some weren’t even plugged in at the time. For many people, the Tesla battery fires call to mind Samsung phones, e-cigarettes, and other electronic devices that have been known to scorch consumers. Thankfully, as with those other products, Tesla owners do have options if they are injured or suffer property damage because of their car’s battery.

A Timeline of Tesla’s Battery Fires

Business Insider says there have been at least 20 Tesla fires since 2013. The Drive has compiled several recent instances where the car in question was parked or stopped, as opposed to being involved in a collision:

  • Feb. 12, 2020: In Cerritos, California, a Tesla charging in a garage caught fire, sending a child to the hospital.
  • June 1, 2019: In Antwerp, Belgium, a Model S caught fire while charging. To douse the flames, firefighters had to drop the car in a tank of water and leave it submerged overnight.
  • May 13, 2019: In Hong Kong, China, a Model S parked in a public garage caught fire. (As a result, Tesla issued an Over-the-Air (OTA) update to the model’s thermal management system.)
  • May 3, 2019: In San Francisco, a Model S parked in a residential garage caught fire, filling the garage with smoke. The car was not plugged in at the time.
  • April 21, 2019: In Shanghai, China, a Model S parked in a public parking garage emitted white smoke before being enveloped in flames that destroyed the Model S and the Audi beside it. The car was not running or plugged in.
  • April 17, 2019: In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Model X with a history of overheating “suddenly erupted into flames and burned for several hours.”
  • Dec. 21, 2018: In San Francisco, a Model S in a mechanic’s garage burst into flames — twice.
  • June 15, 2018: In Los Angeles, “West Wing” actor Mary McCormack tweeted about her husband’s Model S catching fire “out of the blue, in traffic on Santa Monica Blvd.”

Tesla Battery Fire Lawyers

If you or a loved one suffered injuries, economic losses, or property damage because your Tesla’s battery overheated or caught fire, you could be owed money for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Morgan & Morgan is one of the largest personal injury firms in the world, which means we have the resources to take on powerful corporations like Tesla. Our firm specializes in personal injury cases, especially those involving car crashes and defective products. Over the past 35 years, we’ve recovered $20 billion for our clients. It costs nothing upfront to hire us, and we get paid only if you win a jury award or recover a favorable settlement. To learn more, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • Why do Tesla Batteries Catch Fire?

    From February 2018 to April 2019, Business Insider tallied five Tesla fire-related deaths. Speaking to the outlet, auto fire rescue expert Brock Archer said, “There are only a few reasons why a lithium-ion battery catches on fire. Liquid, dead short, or spontaneous combustion.” Archer noted that spontaneous combustion is incredibly rare, occurring in just one in one billion battery cells. But every Tesla has thousands of cells, and there are hundreds of thousands of Teslas. There is also historical precedent for lithium-ion batteries catching fire in cell phones, laptops, and other devices. Tesla founder Elon Musk thinks the battery problem (among other Tesla issues) has been blown out of proportion by the media. But the litany of Tesla fires seem to suggest otherwise.

  • Has Tesla Done Anything to Prevent Car Battery Fires?

    Faced with batteries catching fire in multiple Tesla models, the company took corrective action to try to mitigate the problem. Tesla updated the vehicle software in electric cars that were likely to catch on fire. Additionally, Tesla added plates underneath its cars to better protect batteries from catching on fire. If your vehicle has these safety features or has been modified with these safety features, the car battery is less likely to catch fire.

  • Who Should I Sue if I Was Injured by a Tesla Car Battery Fire in a Tesla That Belonged to Someone Else?

    Because there is a pattern that suggests Teslas have a defective design, Tesla is most likely liable for any injuries you suffered due to a Tesla car battery fire. However, there may be other details of your case that make the owner of the vehicle liable as well. A personal injury attorney from Morgan & Morgan will evaluate your case for free and determine who is liable and who you should file a lawsuit against.

  • What Kind of Injuries Do Tesla Car Battery Fires Cause?

    Primarily, Tesla car battery fires cause burn injuries. Typically, after the battery catches on fire, the rest of the car quickly catches on fire as well. Anyone inside the car might suffer burns from the fire or smoke inhalation from being stuck in the car while it fills with smoke.

    A spontaneous car battery fire can also cause an accident. If the car battery catches on fire while you are driving, you will lose control of your vehicle and could hit another vehicle. If that happens, you will probably suffer injuries traditionally associated with car accidents, including:

    • Head or brain trauma
    • Broken bones
    • Soft tissue damage
    • Whiplash and back injuries

    If you have suffered a severe injury due to a Tesla car battery fire, you should get medical treatment immediately and then consult with a personal injury attorney that is experienced with these types of cases.

  • If I Was Injured by a Tesla Car Battery Fire, Will Tesla Give Me a New, Safer Model?

    If Tesla is responsible for your injuries and the damage to your car, the company can be held financially responsible for that harm. Typically, a negotiated settlement or a trial award would result in you getting money for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. However, if you would prefer to receive a replacement vehicle as part of the damages you receive, your lawyer can negotiate for that alternate compensation.

  • Are Tesla Car Battery Fires Related to the Tesla Car Battery Loss of Range Lawsuit?

    No, the loss of range lawsuit is a different situation. Thousands of car owners who claimed that Tesla was illegally limiting the maximum range of their vehicles by reducing the maximum voltage of batteries sued Tesla. Tesla settled in that case. But no evidence emerged that suggested the Tesla car battery fires were associated with this incident.

  • Was There a Tesla Battery Recall?

    Curiously, Tesla has not issued a recall for any battery issues in any Tesla models. It has issued nearly a dozen other recalls but not one for battery issues. This doesn’t necessarily mean your Tesla battery is safe or that you shouldn’t take measures to protect your car. There are lots of reasons that Tesla might not issue a recall, even if the product is defective.

  • What Should I Do if I Think My Vehicle Never Received the Over-the-Air Update?

    Since the over-the-air update was sent in 2019, almost every Tesla should have received it by now. However, software updates sometimes don’t work correctly, and it is possible that your vehicle never received the update. If you suspect that the software in your Tesla was never properly updated, contact Tesla immediately with your concerns. The company can check your vehicle, confirm whether you received the update, and correct the situation if your vehicle isn’t properly updated.

  • How Much Money Can I Receive if the Car Battery in My Tesla Caught on Fire?

    At a minimum, you can receive compensation for all injuries you suffered due to your Tesla car battery catching on fire and for any damages the fire caused to your vehicle and other possessions. 

    Additionally, if damage to your vehicle or injuries prevented you from working, you can receive damages for all lost wages or income. Since this would be a defective product case, a personal injury lawyer should be able to get you damages for pain and suffering as well.

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