Customers reported a wide range of problems due to malfunctioning high-end Samsung top-loading washers, ranging from fire-related property damage to smoke inhalation health issues. The 663,500 washing machines, which cost between $900 and $1,500, were sold at big box retailers such as Best Buy, Costco, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s between June 2021 and December 2022. A software update was issued to fix the fire hazard, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a statement, “consumers should immediately check whether their washer’s software has been updated to prevent the hazard; and, if not, consumers should immediately stop using the washer until the software is updated”.
All wi-fi equipped washers should automatically download the free software repair when connected to the internet, Samsung said. Customers who don’t have internet access can get a free dongle from Samsung to plug in and download the free software repair.
Smoke Inhalation One person dies from fire or smoke, every two-and-a-half hours, most often due to smoke inhalation. Smoke is a combination of tiny particles, most of which are very hazardous, and superheated gasses. The kind of smoke and the corresponding health risk varies significantly, mostly based on the products being burned, fire temperature, and the amount of available oxygen. Smoke inhalation causes serious injuries in several ways:
Healthy adults and children have oxygen saturation blood levels in the high 90 percent range. Chemicals in smoke, like carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and hydrogen sulfide, reduce blood oxygen saturation levels. If either the delivery of oxygen or the use of oxygen is inhibited, cells will die. Carbon monoxide has been found to be the leading cause of death in smoke inhalation.
When these harmful chemicals come into contact with mucus or skin, they also disrupt respiratory tract linings. This disruption can potentially cause swelling, airway collapse, and respiratory distress. Additionally, high temperatures cause thermal damage to these delicate airways.
· Simple Asphyxiation: In addition to the fact that fire reduces the amount of oxygen in the air, some chemicals in smoke which are normally not harmful, such as carbon dioxide, accelerate simple asphyxiation.
A tiny bit of smoke, such as a nearly invisible trail of smoke from a defective washing machine or a broken car part after an accident, could cause serious injury. Symptoms include bloodshot eyes, soot in the mucus, coughing, and trouble breathing.
Internet Fixes and Subsequent Remedial Measures
Most defective products have cheap fixes, like software patches or small safety devices. However, most companies are reluctant to act unless public pressure forces them to do so. In this case, that public pressure came from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Incidentally, these watchdog agencies normally don’t have the power to unilaterally recall dangerous products. Instead, these agencies can only put pressure on companies and hope they do the right thing. A New York personal injury attorney usually gives tortfeasors (negligent actors) a chance to do the right thing.
Fixes that companies deploy after the fact invoke a little-known legal doctrine called the subsequent remedial measures prohibition. In most states, if companies like Samsung take action to make dangerous products safe, or at least safer, attorneys cannot use these subsequent remedial measures to prove liability.
Essentially, public policy dictates that companies should be able to do the right thing, even if they do it later than they should, without basically admitting that the product or activity was unsafe. But the bottom line is that the SRM rule protects negligent companies and hurts victims.
Therefore, savvy lawyers use back doors to introduce subsequent remedial measures in court. For example, evidence of subsequent remedial measures is admissible to show what was feasible and what the defendant knew or should have known. If a party states that there was nothing else that could possibly have been done which would have avoided the accident, evidence that it did something else that could have avoided the accident obviously is relevant, even if the measure was taken after the accident.
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees and only recover a fee if we win your case.