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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall: Exploding Phones

Out of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphone made by Samsung, the company has recalled nearly 1 million in the U.S. alone because a defective battery component may cause them to violently explode. While a cell phone may explode, it is normally very rare, occurring only about one or two times per year in the U.S. Samsung's Note 7 phones have exploded in at least 100 different instances. When the phones explode, they can cause dangerous fires, burning property and injuring people.

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The Defect Leading To The Recall

According to Samsung, the recalled phones have a defect in their batteries. The company uses lithium-ion batteries in their smartphones because the batteries are able to remain charged for longer periods of time. The batteries used in the recalled phones have a thin membrane that keeps batteries' poles separated from a highly flammable liquid surrounding them. Samsung indicates that a problem with the manufacturing process caused too much pressure to be placed on the membranes, causing them to be punctured. As a result, when the phones are charged, the current is able to arc through the flammable fluid, contacting both poles. This can then cause the phones to violently explode and to catch on fire.

The recall was initially a voluntary one, but the United States Product Safety Commission followed it with a formal recall. The defective phones may not be legally sold in the U.S., Mexico or Canada. Customers who have them are able to return them for full refunds or for different Samsung products.

New Problems

Samsung claims that the defect only affected the phones that it recalled, deeming other batches of Galaxy Note 7s as safe from the defects. While the company has done well with conducting its recall, new problems have arisen. News reports detail that a man in China who ordered a supposedly safe Note 7 was injured when it exploded. The man bought the phone this past weekend. He plugged it in to charge it overnight, and it exploded Monday morning. The explosion melted his computer and burned the man's hands. Samsung has not commented on the latest phone explosion.

Other news sources report that Samsung's problems are apparently going beyond exploding cell phones. The company has a top-loading washing machine that has reportedly exploded 21 times. The company blames the customers for how they load the machines. With the machines, a rod comes loose, causing the machine to explode apart and to send bolts, metal pieces and nuts flying across the room. No recall has yet been issued for the washing machines.

What A Product Liability Attorney Does When People Are Injured

People who are injured by defective products might be able to hold the manufacturers and others involved in the chain of distribution liable to pay damages. The key is that the injured plaintiffs must have been using the product in the manner in which it was intended to be used at the time the defect caused the problem. A product liability attorney may use investigators and experts to show that a defect exists in either the finished product or in one of its component parts. This is to help prevent the defendants from claiming that the people using the product did so in unreasonable ways rather than admitting that a defect exists. This type of investigation may be necessary in the event a plaintiff sues Samsung over the exploding washing machines.

What Plaintiffs Must Prove In A Product Liability Action

There are three types of defective product claims, including the following:

  • Design defects that happen in the design of the product itself
  • Manufacturing defects that occur during the manufacturing process
  • Failures to adequately warn

Plaintiffs who have been injured by a product will need to be able to show that the product or a component of it is defective or that the product did not have adequate warnings. They must then show that they used the product as intended and that the product's defect caused their injuries. Proving a defective product claim can be very complex. A product liability attorney may use experts in order to show that the product was defective or that the warnings were inadequate in order to help prove the elements of his or her client's case.

Samsung's recall for its phones deals with defects that it claims occurred during the battery manufacturing process. The fact that the phones that the company deemed safe are also now exploding might indicate that some design defects exist as well. A product liability attorney might work to uncover all of the defects that exist in the design, manufacture and labeling of the product. This can help to strengthen a client's case, making a fair settlement offer much more likely.

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