Caucasian man walking through a park learning how to prevent phones exploding while charging.

Can a Phone Explosion Kill You?

By Levin Simes
July 8, 2024

Phone battery explosions have been linked to several deaths since 2019. The culprit? Improper charging habits and, like in many other cases, an exploding lithium-ion battery. 

Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere. They are commonly found in iPhones, Samsung, and Google Pixel phones. The technology is integral to efficient, long-lasting battery life for many on the go. But the surge in power may come at a deadly price.

Best Law Firms

You’d never expect our greatest technology also to become our greatest terror. Surviving the aftermath of bad manufacturing & design won’t be easy. But that’s why we’re here for you. 

In total, Levin Simes has recovered hundreds of millions in damages for clients, including those who have suffered the painful repercussions of bad battery burns or wrongful death

If a defectively designed lithium battery has harmed you or someone you know, you might have a strong claim. Contact us online or call (415) 426-3000 if your phone battery has exploded.

Or, protect yourself against phone battery explosions with our guide below.

Are There Cases of Phones Exploding While Charging?

There have been several reported cases of phones exploding while charging. However, it's important to note that such events are relatively rare.

The recent recall of Baseus power banks underscores the importance of using manufacturer-approved charging tools to mitigate risk. If you’ve been injured by any electronic charging device, contact us online or reach out by phone at: (415) 426-3000 to explore your options for compensation.

Risks of Phone Exploding While Using Power Banks

While phone explosions are concerning, power banks are usually the root cause of malfunctions. The recent recall of Baseus Magnetic Wireless Charging Power Banks exemplifies this issue.

Approximately 132,000 units sold online were recalled after 171 reports of the lithium-ion batteries inside overheating. These reports included 132 incidents of bulging or swelling batteries and 39 involving fires, resulting in 13 burn injuries and about $20,000 in property damage.

Other Manufacturing Recalls for Devices

Defects during manufacturing cause battery explosions and, at times, widespread recalls. 

Contaminants like metal particles can accidentally be introduced into battery cells during production, piercing the separator that keeps the electrodes apart and leading to short circuits. Inconsistencies in the assembly process, such as improper sealing, can also cause electrolyte leakage, increasing the risk of explosion.

Manufacturers take these issues seriously, often initiating recalls to prevent accidents and protect consumers. The last notable recall was in 2016 of all Samsung Galaxy Note 7s. The recall was prompted by multiple reports of the device’s batteries overheating and catching fire. 

Samsung initially recalled the phones to replace defective batteries, but eventually discontinued the model entirely after replacement units also exhibited the same problem.

Recalls like these underscore the importance of rigorous quality control during manufacturing. Consumers should remain vigilant, ensuring their devices are free from visible defects and adhering to any manufacturer guidelines or recall notices.

What Causes a Phone Battery to Explode

Can a phone explosion kill you? While it’s not likely to happen, incidents of battery malfunctions leading to severe burns are growing. If you’ve been injured by a lithium battery malfunction, contact us online or reach out by phone at: (415) 426-3000 to get the justice you deserve.

So, what causes a phone battery to explode? When a lithium battery produces heat faster than it can get rid of it, thermal runaway takes place until the battery burns out or burns its user. This is because the ingredients used to maintain a battery’s charge–oxygen, fuel, and direct heat–also comprise materials necessary to ignite a flame. 

Preventing thermal runaway requires diligence on your part. Look for:

External Flaws in Your Phone’s Design

Any dent or crack spotted in your phone can turn your device into a safety hazard. Your phone’s lithium battery is designed to store a significant amount of energy in a compact space. But that all only works if your phone is flaw-free. 

If you spot any corrosion of the battery’s cover plating, insulated areas, or general damage from wear and tear, it may be time to replace your phone. Poor connection between charging circuits can contribute to overheating, further increasing the risk of an explosion.

Overheating from Incompatible Chargers

Overcharging a battery can cause excessive heat buildup. When a battery is overcharged, the internal temperature rises, which can cause the electrolyte to break down and produce gasses. If the pressure from these gasses exceeds the battery casing’s limits, it can lead to an explosion. 

Chargers that are not designed for the specific phone model can catalyze these explosions. Improper charging makes any electric device vulnerable to meltdowns.  And incompatible chargers may deliver incorrect voltage or current, causing the battery to overheat. We strongly recommend using only manufacturer-approved chargers and cables for charging devices.

Dropping Phone from Any Height

Dropping your phone from any height can significantly compromise the structural integrity of its battery. A minor drop can cause internal damage, leading to potential short circuits or separator failure. These issues can generate excessive heat, increasing the risk of the battery swelling, leaking, or even exploding.

Physical damage may not always be visible, so it's important to monitor your phone's performance and battery health after a drop. If you notice any unusual behavior, such as rapid battery drain, overheating, or swelling, replace the battery immediately to mitigate the risk of a hazardous situation. Check out this interview with another battery explosion victim to understand the signs.

How Can I Prevent My Phone from Exploding?

Yes, a phone can potentially explode from overuse, though such occurrences are rare. Overuse can lead to overheating, which is a primary factor in battery explosions.

Make sure to check old phones, laptops, and other electronic devices periodically. If your phone is prone to overheating, you might be putting yourself at risk. If you’ve been hurt by a phone’s heat contact us online or reach out by phone at: (415) 426-3000.

When a phone is used continuously, the battery can become excessively hot. This heat can degrade the battery and increase the risk of thermal runaway. To avoid thermal runaway, follow this checklist:

  • Practice Proper Charging: Avoid overcharging and disconnect the charger once your phone is fully charged. 
  • Keep Heat Away: Do not expose your phone to high temperatures. Always store and use it in a controlled environment. 
  • Check and Inspect: Routinely check your phone battery for any signs of damage. If you notice swelling, leakage, or other abnormal signs, replace the battery immediately.
  • Don’t Use the Cheap Stuff: Only use chargers and batteries that the phone manufacturer approves. Avoid cheap third-party accessories, which might not have the necessary safety features. 
  • Stay Updated: Keep your phone’s software and firmware up to date. Manufacturers often release updates that include improvements for battery management and safety.
  • Stop Using if It Isn’t Cooling: Getting a lithium burn can be life-changing. Make sure to follow these steps diligently to prevent future personal injury.

Remember, it’s important to cease using any electrical device that feels hot to the touch. Once a phone is overheated, it becomes an immediate and imminent threat to the user’s physical well-being.

Contact Levin Simes If Your Phone Battery Exploded

The attorneys at Levin Simes are highly skilled, nationally recognized trial lawyers with over 100 years of combined experience in litigation and trial work. We have extensive experience handling cases involving lithium-ion battery injuries. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not pay unless we win your case.

Levin Simes attorneys are members of prestigious organizations like the American Board of Trial Advocates and have been appointed to leadership positions by judges nationwide.

When you hire Levin Simes, you place your trust in a fearless team that isn’t intimidated by large corporations or insurance companies. We pride ourselves on our accessibility and commitment to providing the highest level of service to all we support.

For those who have suffered injuries from phone battery explosions, contacting Levin Simes can provide access to experienced legal representation that can help with personal injury, or cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. 

Don't let the statute of limitations on your claim run out—contact Levin Simes online or at (415) 426-3000 to get the compensation you deserve.

Related Resources

If you found this Lithium Battery Explosion content helpful, please view the related topics below: 

Contact us if you have specific questions on the matter or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation. 

Ready For Your Free Consultation?