When you think of “accidents involving technology,” most of us imagine knocking our smartphones off the table.
But a man living in Dallas had a different kind of technology accident. Coworkers pulled him from a meeting to show him that his laptop was emitting sparks. After the smoke cleared, three explosions had come from the laptop, and the battery cells were “flying across the room.”
The man put it down to the replacement battery he purchased online.
We don’t generally think about our laptops and smartphones having the potential for spontaneous combustion. But perhaps we should.
What Makes Batteries So Dangerous?
In simple terms, the more cells there are in a battery, the more of a charge that battery can hold (and the longer it can go without needing to recharge). Tech experts do say that putting the wrong battery in your laptop can make the laptop overheat, malfunction, or explode.
Here are some other potential causes of battery failure:
- Overcharging. When the battery is charged beyond what it is designed to handle.
- Manufacturing defects. When the battery is produced with a flaw.
- Overheating. Believe it or not, where and how you store your computer can have a direct impact on the viability of the battery and its safety.
- Age. As batteries age, they become more susceptible to failure.
What Can Users Do to Protect Themselves?
Given that the most significant risk with batteries is fire, there are a few things tech users need to know. First, educate yourself about whether there have been any recalls on your particular computer’s battery. And learn what type it is. Replace it every two to three years; keep it in a cool and dry environment; and replace it if dropped or damaged. Also, charging a phone in bed is a prime way to start a technology fire. (Warn your teenager.)
In the event that a piece of technology does fail, be prepared for it to burst into flame. If it does, call for help—get the professionals on the way. And do not, under any circumstances, use water to try to put out the flames. Only a fire extinguisher or fire blanket should be used.
The risk of getting hurt by the products that we depend on is frightening. If you or someone you care about was injured as a result of a laptop or other technological device exploding, talk to Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP at toll-free (800) 738-4046. We can offer 25 years of experience and a free case evaluation to explore your legal rights and remedies.