Can I Sue Amazon for a Defective Product Injury?

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Who is responsible for a defective product injury? Is it the manufacturer of the product? What about the store who sold it to you?

Depending on the case, it could be either, or both. It all depends on who made the error that ultimately led to the injury.

Until recently, Amazon (arguably the world’s largest retailer) was shielded from liability in these cases. However, a recent federal court decision has set a new precedent: consumers can now sue Amazon if they are injured by product sold on the site.

Amazon Federal Court Case: Why Did A Woman Sue Amazon?

The case began when a Pennsylvania woman ordered a retractable dog leash on Amazon. She alleges that the leash snapped, blinding her in one eye. She initially sued Amazon for selling her a dangerous and defective product, and the lower court ruled against her, saying that Amazon was not technically a “seller” as defined by state law. It also pointed to a 1990 law that protected online publishers of content from third parties. In its defense, Amazon pointed to a 1980 case where a man unsuccessfully tried to sue an auction house after he was injured by a tractor purchased at an auction.

However, in a 2-1 decision, Philadelphia’s 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of the lower court. It said that Amazon did count as a “seller” since the service prohibited direct contact between the buyer and the vendor. Her attorney said that this was the first time Amazon was classified as a seller, which has certain legal connotations.

What Does This Ruling Mean?

As one of the dissenting judges noted, this is a “relatively uncharted area of law.” This could change, but right now, as this court classified Amazon as a seller, it sets a precedent for future liability cases going forward. If you’ve been injured by a product purchased on Amazon, this case means that Amazon could share liability for your injuries. To learn more, contact an attorney who has experience handling product liability claims. Make sure they know about this case, as it could help them evaluate your options.

Written by™ on behalf of David Klibaner