blog home Product Liability When Companies Produce Exploding Devices

By Renee Nordstrand on June 27, 2018

a front-loading washing machine

We should be critical of any company that puts its customers at risk. Recalls are beneficial, but they are often too little, too late.

As SoCal personal injury attorneys, we at NordstrandBlack PC expect manufacturers to make sure their devices are safe before they sell them to an unsuspecting public. If they don’t, we are able to take legal action against them. Here are some examples of recent products that exploded on customers in the U.S.

Exploding Washing Machines

In 2016, Samsung recalled nearly 3 million washing machines when it was discovered that washing bulky and water-resistant items, like bedding, could unbalance the machine and send the lid exploding off the machine. This recall was not issued out of pure altruism, however, as it followed a class action lawsuit brought against Samsung by customers who had damages due to these machines. The company remained fairly silent about the problem and the recall, other than providing replacement machines or vouchers for customers affected by it.

Fiery Mobile Phones

The recall of explosive washing machines came on the heels of Samsung having to recall 1 million Galaxy Note 7 mobile phones after it was discovered they had the potential to burst into flames. The company was forced to issue not one, but two separate recalls for different defects for the same model. Government notices were immediately issued to customers to stop using these phones, and the devices were recalled. But this did little to help people who already suffered serious injuries when their phones erupted into flames.

Exploding Vape Pens

However, Samsung is not the first or the last to have products explode on customers. One brand of electronic cigarette or “vape pen” exploded down in St. Petersburg, Florida, in May 2018, killing the man who was smoking it. Manufactured by Smok-E Mountain Mech Works, a company based in the Philippines, the device supposedly exploded because of its lithium-ion battery. From 2009-2016, the U.S. Fire Administration noted 195 reports of e-cigarette-related fires and various injuries. Its report read, “While the failure rate of the lithium-ion batteries is very small, the consequences of a failure, as we have seen, can be severe and life-altering for the consumer.”

Lithium ion batteries were also blamed in the first Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall as well.

Shrapnel-Laced Airbags

Honda, and 18 other automakers, issued the biggest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history for faulty frontal airbags manufactured by the Takata Corporation, based in Japan. These airbags’ fault lies in their inflators, metal cartridges housing propellant that are supposed to inflate the airbags on crash impact to protect drivers and passengers. Instead, the inflators were detonating based on unknown environmental factors, sometimes with explosive force that sent metal shards into vehicle occupants.

To date, at least 15 people have been killed by these airbags and countless others injured, and there are still an estimated 60,000 or more vehicles with these deadly airbags on American roads.

Product Liability and Customer Safety

People continue to buy the next smartphone, vehicle, or device introduced to the market by big companies with questionable practices. Samsung is one example, but many other companies have had similar safety issues that required recalls.

While businesses need to make profits to survive, their ultimate loyalty should be to the customers that keep them in business, not the shareholders who pocket the profits. We, as customers, should demand better and hold manufacturers accountable when their products put us at risk.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022. We offer a free, confidential consultation, and we will let you know if and how your case may be pursued for maximum compensation.

Posted in: Product Liability