If you’ve experienced an accident or injury involving an electric vehicle (EV), it might feel like there are more questions than answers.
Like all new technology, electric vehicles are at the frontiers of the law. From batteries to autonomous features, entirely new kinds of cases are emerging all the time.
Of course, that’s on top of all the usual questions and stress around fault, liability, insurance coverage, and so forth.
So, if you’re dealing with the aftermath of an EV collision, our legal team will help you fight for rightful compensation while navigating the complexities of this cutting-edge tech.
Electric vehicle incidents & concerns
In a few short years, electric vehicles evolved from far-fetched concept cars to in-demand production vehicles.
But wide adoption doesn’t mean they’re free of issues. In fact, their batteries and numerous “smart” features create new kinds of problems—sometimes with devastating consequences.
Remember: EV-related claims may have little precedent and therefore lots of ambiguity. Insurers and manufacturers may try to use this ambiguity in their favor. If you or your loved ones suffered harm related to an electric vehicle, then it’s as important as ever to consult an experienced accident and injury attorney.
Batteries can ignite or explode
We’ve all seen EV battery fires on the news. Smoke or sparks may give way to flames, which seem to come from nowhere and quickly consume the vehicle. Not only are these cases deeply alarming, but sadly, some have been fatal.
Most of today’s EVs use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Unfortunately, lithium is highly heat-sensitive and combustible. A severe temperature increase—whether from poor design, manufacturing errors, or extreme operating conditions—can ignite the battery and produce a frightening fire.
There are a couple of additional hazards beyond the obvious combustion risk.
For one thing, Li-ion batteries contain several substances that become volatile under heat. When exposed to fire, they may produce extremely harmful gases like carbon monoxide and hydrogen fluoride. These gases are potentially fatal on their own, let alone in combination with heat and smoke.
Consequently, rescuers may need to be especially cautious. The unique risks of EV batteries may mean slower aid and, potentially, worse outcomes for everyone involved.
Doors have trapped people inside
In rare but particularly tragic cases, the vehicle’s own doors have trapped drivers or passengers inside a burning vehicle. This isn’t inherent to EVs, but is a risk of the novel, automated features that some EV makers have adopted.
Most notably, some popular models have self-retracting door handles. These are intended to extend when someone approaches and retract when not needed. However, if damage renders the software or mechanisms inoperable, rescuers may not be able to open the doors quickly (or at all) to extract the occupants.
To be clear, this is an extremely rare event. But in combination with battery-related fire hazards, it’s a dramatic and dangerous occurrence that current laws may not clearly address.
Self-driving EVs raise new liability questions
Collisions with autonomous EVs (or ones temporarily in auto-pilot mode) raise a slew of legal questions.
Engineering quality standards, the role of artificial intelligence in self-driving software, and the operator’s decision to relinquish control are mostly uncharted territory. These factors, plus the human element of most collisions, make it uniquely hard to disentangle liability.
If you were in an accident involving a self-driving EV, then we urge you to contact a legal professional as soon as possible.
Getting legal help after your EV accident
In the US, electric vehicle sales seem to hit new highs with every passing month. And as EVs form a growing share of all cars, they also form a growing share of all car collisions.
As a result, we’ve already seen new and complex legal situations. Some, like batteries combusting or autonomous features misbehaving, involve tricky matters of product liability that may involve manufacturers directly.
Electric vehicle or not, you still need an advocate. Even accidents that seem straightforward can have serious implications for your finances and well-being. No matter the cause of your EV-related incident, it’s critical to talk to an attorney before dealing with any insurers.
At Bridge Law, our team has spent years helping others just like you get fair treatment and just compensation. To confidentially discuss your situation with an expert, please reach out today.