With all the commotion over the iPhone 7’s new features, Samsung rushed to release its newest phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note7. The release of the Galaxy Note7 was exciting: waterproof protection and an iris scanner are just some of the phone’s new features. Very quickly after its release, however, stories started covering one accidental new feature – an exploding battery.
One of the victims of this exploding battery is Jonathan Strobel, a Palm Beach County resident. Strobel was holding his phone in his right pocket on September 9 when the battery ignited. The battery caused severe burns to his thigh, as well as extreme shock and pain. Seeking compensation for his injuries and related financial losses, Strobel decided to sue Samsung for damages in excess of $15,000.
Recall of the Galaxy Note7
While Strobel is the first known person to file a defective product lawsuit against Samsung for complications relating to the Galaxy Note7, he certainly may not be the last. Close to 100 incidents of overheating batteries have been reported to Samsung just in the United States, and while the number of these incidents is small, certain cases have resulted in fires in the owner’s car or garage. Some airlines are even refusing to let Galaxy Note7s on board due to the risks that they pose.
Samsung is not denying the problem. In fact, they quickly responded to the defective part by issuing a massive recall. Any Galaxy Note7 that was sold before September 15 is subject to the recall, and it was highly recommended that Galaxy Note7 owners immediately return the product.
The recall was issued at the beginning of September, over a week before Strobel endured his injuries. This timeline is important for all victims of Galaxy Note7’s exploding batteries (as well as victims of any other defective product) to keep in mind. Why?
Because the Galaxy Note7 recall made international news. If Strobel neglected to return his Galaxy Note7 after the recall was announced, can he still hold Samsung liable for his injuries and receive compensation?
How Recalls Affect Personal Injury Cases
Recalls may play into a personal injury case, but they do not guarantee a win or a loss for either side.
A plaintiff may think that a recall may guarantee a win. After all, the product is obviously defective. But even with a recall, the plaintiff and his or her personal injury lawyer still have to prove the following to win their case:
- The product was defective
- The product was defective due to negligence on the manufacturer’s part
- The defective product (or defective part of the product) was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries
In other words, Strobel will still need to prove in court that complications with Samsung Galaxy Note7’s batteries were due to Samsung’s negligence, and that the faulty battery caused his burns and injuries. In fact, they may deliberately choose jurors for the case who are not aware of the recall.
On the other hand, Samsung will have to prove that when issuing the recall, they made an effort to contact Strobel directly, and that his negligence to participate in the recall made him liable for his injuries. A recall that users might have caught while flipping through the news is not enough. E-mail, phone calls, or other forms of direct communication may be required to get Samsung off the hook.
It’s Not Over for Samsung Users
This story, and the lawsuits that continue to surround it, will not be over when Strobel’s case ends. In fact, it’s going to be an interesting one to watch in the coming months.
Concerning the recall, affected owners were expected to return their phone for reimbursement or a replacement product. That would solve the problem. But it has not been the case for Samsung.
Recently, people started reporting that the replacement batteries in their Galaxy Note7s have been overheating or failing to gain power while the device is charging. The company decided to hold off on replacing batteries until next month, but this clearly isn’t good news.
If you are currently a Samsung Galaxy Note7 user, it is important to double-check whether or not your phone has been recalled. If it has, do so immediately – b =ut do not rush to replace it with another Galaxy Note7 quite yet. Complaints have mainly been coming from South Korea, but with the potential of injury and property damage that we have seen from batteries thus far, it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you have already been injured by the Samsung Galaxy Note7 or any other similar defective product, don’t stand idly by. Talk to a Florida defective products attorney with a history of success in these types of cases to learn about your options.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2014-2016 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.