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Emotional Trauma After a Lithium Battery Fire: Pursuing Compensation

Emotional Trauma After a Lithium Battery Fire: Pursuing Compensation

Mar 06, 2024

As someone who has endured a lithium battery fire, you’re well aware that these incidents not only leave behind physical injuries like burns and residual physical pain and disfigurement but also bring to the forefront a whole host of mental health concerns. Below, we’ll share details about the most commonly reported emotional trauma that occurs after a lithium battery fire and dive deeper into everything you need to know about pursuing compensation after such a catastrophic event occurs. 

How Traumatic Events Impact Physical and Mental Health

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency, there’s a strong correlation between traumatic experiences and mental health conditions. 

Researchers who authored a Psychosomatic Medicine study from 2002, perhaps before lithium-ion batteries were as widely utilized as they are now, determined that victims indeed suffer psychological outcomes stemming from hazardous material incidents. The researchers found that the most common ill effects associated with traumatic event exposure, which occurred at higher levels among these individuals, include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hostility
  • Somatization 

The latter refers to emotional or psychological concerns manifesting themselves as physical symptoms. For example, someone plagued by stress may experience fatigue, back pain, nausea, chest pain, and headaches. 

Other studies, such as one published by the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), have long been studying the potential psychophysiological impact of exposure to hazardous substances, which the chemicals contained in and gasses released by exploding lithium-ion batteries when a fire ignites, are. Research suggests that individuals with such exposure may encounter chronic, acute stress and other neurobehavioral issues, resulting in physiological responses (in other words, ones causing physical discomfort).

A third study, published in the Journal of Family Medicine Primary Care in 2019 and available through the National Library of Medicine, focuses on the impact of disasters on mental health. The study authors contend that these can involve man-made or industrial incidents, perhaps like lithium-ion battery fires. Researchers suggest that the psychological impact incidents like these have on children, in particular, is significant and often results in them receiving post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other related diagnoses. The good news, though, is that study authors found that early intervention (in the form of treatment) after these situations can greatly improve a person’s outlook. 

Lithium-Ion Battery Fires and Their Impact on Your Emotional and Behavioral Wellbeing

Dangerous product situations, like explosions involving lithium-ion batteries, are similar to other traumatic personal injury incidents, including physical assaults or auto accidents in some ways and different in others. One way in which they’re alike is how they can all result in what some refer to as “invisible wounds.” 

Of course, people tend to only see the physical scars and outward disfigurements left behind on someone’s body from a fire. They may also take note of someone with symptoms affecting their internal systems, such as toxic substances or smoke inhalation that causes a personal obvious respiratory distress and associated discomfort. 

It may not be as evident that victims are experiencing emotional distress after a lithium battery fire early on. They may be able to hide it. However, some of the tell-tale signs someone who’s been party to an exploding product and subsequent blaze like this may show signs of: 

  • Ease to anger or irritability
  • Difficulty remembering (forgetfulness)
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Decreased interest in doing things
  • Nightmares or anxiety (all characteristic of intrusive thoughts)
  • Increasingly engaging in reckless behaviors like substance abuse

Help Is Available for Those Struggling Emotionally After a Lithium Battery Fire

As mentioned in one of the resources referenced above, getting help as soon as possible after a traumatic event like this is imperative. While it won’t reverse the hand of time and make it as if the fire never occurred, seeking treatment early may equip you with the necessary coping strategies that minimize how much your trauma-related symptoms persist or how profound their impact is. If you prioritize this, the effect on your physical health may additionally be significantly reduced.

Securing Compensation If a Battery Burned You or Claimed a Loved One’s Life

Our state’s product liability law is codified as North Carolina General Statutes § 99B-1. It outlines how negligence, such as the following, is at the center of whether a plaintiff has a viable product liability claim:

  • Failure to warn: This has to do with whether a manufacturer or distributor properly informs (often by labeling) their product and the danger it poses to certain populations. This may include before or after it’s released on the market. 
  • Inadequate design: This type of negligence claim may be viable if the plaintiff has reason to believe that a different product design would not have resulted in similar injuries. 
  • Manufacturer defect: This is when the manufacturing process results in a defect in the products make up or construction that causes the plaintiff’s injuries. 

It’s necessary for the victim who suffered harm by using a product to prove what type of manufacturing, design, and/or warning defects a product had to move forward in filing a lawsuit to recover compensation. However, keep in mind that our state subscribes to the contributory negligence doctrine, which generally means that you’re unable to recover compensation if you contributed to causing your injuries at all. 

Provided you meet the threshold to file suit, you may be able to recover compensation not only for medical bills associated with your suffering a burn or any other visible physical injuries from a lithium battery fire but also to receive therapy or secure medication for some of the mental health concerns described above.

In addition, you may be eligible to recover non-economic damages for mental and emotional pain and suffering. 

Our attorneys have extensive experience handling cases involving lithium-ion battery injuries and wrongful deaths. Here at Paynter Law, we have a reputation for recovering maximum compensation for victims who are senselessly hurt due to the negligence of others. Let’s discuss the fire that hurt you or caused the untimely death of your loved one. Contact our law firm for a free consultation today if you’re suffering from physical injuries or emotional trauma so we can talk about pursuing compensation in your case.