Orange, CA asked in Consumer Law, Small Claims and Personal Injury for Arizona

Q: I had a lithium ion battery catch on fire in my house. Fire department identified it as the source of the fire.

Fire happened in the middle of the night on my night stand. Fire department came out and identified the battery pack as the heat source. I started to file a claim with my home owners insurance. It looks like the claim will be around 20k for clean up, replacing burt items, hospital costs (2nd degree burns to my hand and I work with my hands), and hotel costs. Not included in there is time me and my girlfriend have taken off work, time dealing with all of this, ect.

The only thing I have accepted from the home owners insurance is cleaning of my room because I'd like to be able to live in my house again sometime soon.

I'd like to know if I should continue to pursue this with my insurance company or if I should persue this legally?

1 Lawyer Answer
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: I hope you are recovering from your second degree burns. What you describe here could possibly be the basis for a product liability cause of action. To learn if that might be the case, you could arrange a brief consultation with a product liability attorney in Arizona (it looks like that is where you are; there is mention of Orange, CA). Whatever the case, they generally work on contingency and most provide free initial consultations.

The cause of action could depend upon whether the Lithium Ion battery pack was defective, in terms of being defectively designed, manufactured, or failing to provide adequate warnings. An attorney could explain those theories in further detail for you in a consult.

If you do contemplate pursuing an action based on product liability after consulting with an attorney, do not sign any further releases associated with the property damage claim without first having them reviewed by your attorney. Depending on the wording of a release, it could serve to preclude your rights to pursue claims you never intended to relinquish rights to. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

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