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Burn Injury: The Case of the Exploding iPhone

| Mar 18, 2015 | Firm News

The iPhone has never been hotter as one man in New York recently found out after suffering a burn injury.

Erik Johnson, of New York, was injured when his iPhone 5C spontaneously exploded in his pocket.

“When I went to bend over, I heard a pop,” Johnson told reporters from CNN, “I heard a sizzling.”  Then, according to Johnson, the iPhone became incredibly hot while trapped inside his front pocket.

“I was trying to get it out of my pocket,” Johnson said, “It started burning right through my pants. It was burning my leg, and I had to get my pants off somehow.”

Johnson, in a rush, ripped his pants off, but not before suffering significant personal injuries. He suffered both second and third degree burns to his leg and was ultimately forced to spend 10 days undergoing treatment at the Burn Center at Staten Island University Hospital for his burn injury.

Recently, there have been other similar incidents involving iPhones catching heat and exploding. This past October, a man in Phoenix suffered second-degree burns to his leg when his iPhone 6 became incredibly hot and burned a hole through his jeans and boxers.  Another similar incident occurred in Maine last January, when a middle schooler’s iPhone 5C exploded in her back pocket, causing a minor burn injury.

There have also been similar reports of older versions of iPhones exploding; a 2013 accident in China left a woman with a scratched eyeball; a 2011 accident occurred during an Australian flight; a separate 2011 incident resulted in a phone exploding only one foot from the owner’s face and in 2010 a iPhone burnt a user’s hand while charging.

Various reports have also claimed incidents involving Samsung smartphones spontaneously exploding, see various reports here, including one in which a Samsung Galaxy S4 allegedly caused a house to burn down in China.

According to experts, the likely source of the explosion is the lithium battery which is found in many smartphones. These lithium batteries can grow incredibly hot and in rare instances can lead to explosions. In 2009, the European Union conducted an investigation into a number of specific incidents of iPhones overheating and burning users. The company denied any fault and a spokesman attributed all the blame to the glass cracking under external force or other external factors.

Back in the United States, Johnson has hired a personal injury attorney and is seeking compensation from Apple for the burn injury and property damage he has suffered. Johnson claims that he was not using an external battery charger, or any other device with his iPhone. Johnson maintains that the phone was merely in his pocket when the incident occurred and that he was using it in a normal manner. If Johnson can prove that the product was defective and caused the ensuing damage or injury, then he would likely be able to recover for his injuries.

Apple claims to be investigating the incident.

If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury, including an injury caused by an exploding smartphone, then contact experienced San Diego personal injury attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP.  Our personal injury attorneys are experienced in determining causation in a particular accident and may be able to offer insight into potentially culpable parties.  We don’t get paid until we recover compensation on your behalf, so call today for a free consultation.  San Diego 619-512-5995 or Riverside 951-200-4630.