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Recall issued for 1.5 million dehumidifiers over fire risk

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2023 | Personal Injury

Dehumidifiers are essential appliances in any home or space with high humidity. They extract water from the air, helping reduce humidity and making rooms feel much more comfortable.

But like any electric appliance, dehumidifiers can also have issues that can make them dangerous. Such was the case with a recent recall for over 1.5 million dehumidifiers sold in the U.S. because of their potential fire risk.

Chinese manufacturer Gree Electric Appliance is recalling 42 dehumidifier models. The company sold the devices under five brands – Kenmore, GE, Norpole, Seabreeze and SoleusAir. These devices were made available through major retailers like Home Depot and Walmart from January 2011 to February 2014.

Gree issued the recall after it had received reports that its dehumidifiers caused at least 23 fires and $168,000 in property damage. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that Gree had advised consumers to unplug and immediately stop using the devices and to contact the company for a free refund.

Product liability for dangerous devices

What can you do if you’re injured in a fire caused by a defective dehumidifier?

Per California law, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer to seek compensation for your injuries and any property damage caused by the fire.

However, if you file a product liability lawsuit, you must remember that California uses a pure comparative fault system, which could limit the damages you can seek.

Pure comparative fault

Under the state’s law on pure comparative fault, you’re only eligible for compensation based on the level of your fault compared to the manufacturer. For instance, if you suffered burn injuries that cost $780,000 but were determined to be 40% at fault for the fire, you can only recover the remaining 60% ($468,000) through the lawsuit.

Manufacturers facing a product liability lawsuit could use the pure comparative fault system to limit the damages they’re liable for. For instance, the manufacturer could claim in court that you used the dehumidifier for long periods without breaks. It could additionally claim that this goes against its warnings that prolonged use could lead to dangerous overheating. In a roundabout way, you could be more liable for the burn injuries you’ve suffered from a defective product.

Product liability lawsuits can be challenging, especially if the manufacturer you’re suing will try its hardest to reduce its liability. Consider having a legal professional on your side to understand your case better.