Every year, thousands of people are injured by defective or unsafe consumer products in the United States. As the nation’s largest online retailer, an increasing number of the products that cause those injuries are purchased on Amazon. Since its earliest beginnings however, Amazon has successfully avoided responsibility as a retailer by claiming it was not a classic store and only provided a “platform” for others to sell their goods. This argument, made to state courts across the country, had been widely successful until recently. But beginning in 2020 courts started rejecting that reasoning, ruling that Amazon is a merchant seller for purposes of product liability law and should be held to the same standard as Walmart or Home Depot or Macy’s or Target or any other store or distributor who sells goods. Treating Amazon like any other shop, store or mall makes sense – especially when 95 million people in the United States have Amazon prime memberships and are shopping for more than 12 million products on the Amazon website.
It is important to know your rights and what to do if you have been injured by a defective bicycle, cosmetic, houseware or other product purchased from Amazon. The Amazon defective product liability lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger have the experience needed to secure a verdict or cash settlement in your product defect claim. If you or a loved one have been injured by a product that you purchased from Amazon, call us today for a free and confidential case evaluation. There is no fee for a consultation. We charge fees only if we recover for you.
How Our Amazon Defective Product Liability Lawyers Can Help
Our lawyers can help determine who is liable for a defective product and what court in which to bring your claim. If you incurred an injury from a product sold through Amazon, you have options and may qualify for an Amazon product liability lawsuit. You no longer need to track down an out-of-country the seller in China or Mexico or Pakistan or Japan.
Our team of experienced Amazon defective product liability lawyers will assist you with your lawsuit. We will provide the knowledge and expertise needed to be successful and recover financially in your case.
Amazon Product Injury Resources and FAQs
- Does Amazon Sell Defective Products?
- Examples of Amazon Product Defects and Injuries Sustained
- Can You Hold Amazon Liable for Injuries If the Defective Product Came from a Third-Party Seller?
- Is the Third-Party Seller Held Liable for Their Defective Product?
- How Inventory Co-Mingling Extends Amazon’s Liability
Does Amazon Sell Defective Products?
Until recently, Amazon claimed it was not responsible for defective products sold through its website marketplace. However, courts now reject Amazon’s claim that “it cannot be considered a seller of products offered by third parties under state product liability law.”
In a recent statement filed with the U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Amazon stated, “Amazon makes clear in the conditions of use that third-party sellers sell products on the marketplace, and that those sellers, not Amazon, are responsible for the product.” California’s legislature has rejected similar statements and placed a legal duty on Amazon for selling defective products on its site manufactured and sold by others.
Examples of Amazon Product Defects and Injuries Sustained
California is not the only state to see cases against Amazon for defective products. Cases finding Amazon strictly liable for product defects have been in the courts since 2014, some examples of product defect claims against Amazon are:
- In 2014, Amazon settled a case where a man died after his helmet fell off in a motorcycle accident. The helmet was found to be out of compliance with the federal safety standards. Amazon denied it was the seller and admitted no liability.
- In 2015, a woman out of Pennsylvania sued Amazon for a defective dog leash bought through their site. The woman was partially blinded after the product detached from her dog and flew back and hit her in the face. Neither Amazon nor the woman could locate a third-party and the court held “that Amazon is subject to strict products liability claims for sales involving third-party vendors.”
- In 2015, a California woman suffered burns after a hoverboard purchased from Amazon caught on fire in her house. In 2016, a hoverboard bought through Amazon caught fire and destroyed a home in Nashville, Tennessee. In both cases, the lower court had ruled in favor of Amazon, however, both parties appealed, and the courts reversed the lower court’s finding.
- In addition to California and Pennsylvania, New York and Wisconsin courts have ruled against Amazon, finding them strictly liable for defective products:
- The court in Wisconsin ruled that Amazon was liable in a case where a house was flooded due to a faulty bathtub faucet adapter purchased through Amazon.
- A New York Supreme Court found Amazon liable for a faulty thermostat sold on Amazon after it caused property damage due to a fire caused by the defective product.
- In 2019, a New Jersey court found Amazon to be the seller of a defective scooter, which caused injuries to a young boy. The court wrote, Amazon’s control of the product, its relationship with the third-party sellers, and the structure of the Amazon marketplace all weigh in favor of finding that Amazon was a seller, not a mere broker or facilitator.”
Can You Hold Amazon Liable for Injuries If the Defective Product Came from a Third-Party Seller?
As seen in the above cases, courts are holding Amazon liable for injuries sustained from products sold on their site, even from a third-party seller. A California appeals court recently found that Amazon was not immune from liability under the Communication Decency Act, which Amazon used as a defense against being held liable (the court rejected that defense).
The California court found that Amazon is strictly liable for defective products sold on their marketplace through third parties because they are a link in the chain of distribution. Amazon was determined to be liable because the court found that Amazon was:
- storing third-party products in warehouses,
- receiving payment and shipping products,
- setting the terms of its relationship agreements, and
- demanding fees on each purchase.
Is the Third-Party Seller Held Liable for Their Defective Product?
Finding Amazon liable for a product does not eliminate the liability of manufacturers or third-party wholesalers from also being held liable for their defective products. Consumers can prosecute claims for money damages against all persons in the marketing enterprise including Amazon.
Product liability laws allow consumers to recover damages from multiple parties when injured by a defective product. Strict liability imposes legal responsibility on basically all parties involved with a product including sellers, distributors, and manufacturers.
There are three types of products defects that incur responsibility for money damages:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Defects in marketing
Products liability refers to all parties along the marketing chain from manufacturer, seller, to distributor. A claimant can pursue one or any combination of these parties for a product defect claim.
How Inventory Co-Mingling Extends Amazon’s Liability
Commingled inventory refers to products from multiple sources being stored together at one Amazon warehouse. Amazon pools inventory together based on similar products with the same code and these are all placed together, regardless of the seller or third-party provider. You may purchase a product from reseller X, and receive the product of reseller Y. Once Amazon puts the products into a “commingled” space, it is no longer possible to discern the supplier of that product.
This type of practice is why it is sometimes hard for Amazon or a customer to find the third-party responsible for making a defective product.
Contact Our Amazon Defective Product Liability Lawyers Today
Our California Amazon defective product liability lawyers are dedicated to obtaining financial recovery for innocent purchasers. When you suffer an injury from a defective product purchased through Amazon, regardless of whether the defect is in the design, manufacture, packaging, instructions, or warning, you must seek financial compensation.
The attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger have the experience to pursue your product defect claim and hold the proper parties) liable. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective Amazon product, call the Walkup Law firm at (415) 981-7210 or contact us online. Arrange a free consultation where our attorneys can review your case and help explain your options.