While Amazon.com has been selling products online for many years it wasn’t until a few years ago that it became the world’s leading online retailer. Nearly any type of product can be purchased on Amazon.com, some from third-party merchants and others from the company itself. Because Amazon allows third-party vendors to sell independently while also offering products of its own, it creates some confusion as to who is held liable when a defective product is sold and causes a consumer to suffer a serious injury.
While Amazon has alleged in many of the cases that have been brought against the company that it is not responsible for defects found in products that were bought from a third-party seller on their site, a recent lawsuit that was filed could potentially change this. According to ABC News, “a federal court has ruled that Amazon can be sued over a defective product sold by one of its third-party vendors.” The lawsuit stems from an incident that involves a Pennsylvania woman who suffered permanent blindness from a retractable dog leash she purchased on the website.
Heather Oberdorf is the plaintiff in the case who alleged the dog leash she bought snapped causing her to suffer permanent blindness in one eye. Although a lower court initially ruled that “the online retailer was protected because it couldn’t be characterized as a seller under state law,” the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia “reversed most of the lower court’s ruling, holding that Amazon can be classified as a seller.”
Two Brooklyn Law School professors, Edward J. Janger and Aaron D. Twerski, shared their thoughts with The Philadelphia Inquirer regarding the matter saying “Amazon’s contention that it is a neutral platform that simply facilitates sales between sellers and buyers is a myth. Amazon exercises control over each sale through a host of mechanisms that maximize profit to itself, and determines who will buy what from whom.”
Although the case has yet to go to trial, it could have a significant impact on similar product liability lawsuits filed against the online retail giant given the favorable opinion from the Third Circuit.
Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit Against Amazon
Although Amazon has to date managed to “sidestep the liability that conventional retailers face,” suggests The Verge, that doesn’t mean you cannot hire a Houston, TX product liability attorney to help you file suit against the online retailer. Amazon has managed to sell or allow vendors to sell many harmful and hazardous products to consumers over the years as it developed into one of the most profitable online retailers. This has resulted in many individuals suffering permanent injuries and incurring exorbitant medical bills with nowhere to turn for help.
While there is a long list of mislabeled and hazardous products that have been sold on the Amazon marketplace, here are a few that have caused serious and fatal injuries.
- A vape pen purchased on Amazon exploded in a teen’s pocket causing him to suffer severe burns.
- Two days after Christmas in 2014, a man died after the holiday lights that were purchased from Amazon caused his home to catch fire. He was found inside his home facedown and unconscious, and died later that night.
- A faulty ladder was blamed for one person’s death.
Amazon has also been called out for “allowing” vendors to sell products that contain hazardous levels of lead, boron and other dangerous ingredients.
If you or a family member suffered a serious or permanent injury as a result of using a defective product purchased from Amazon, you may have a viable case against the company. Because Amazon is likely backed by a strong legal team, it is important that you, that you hire an experienced legal team of your own. At Blizzard Law, PLLC, our team of skilled Houston, TX product liability lawyers have a great deal of experience with litigating cases stemming from faulty or defective products and are prepared to fight for your rights as a consumer.
Our Houston product liability attorneys will not only help you recover compensation that would allow you to afford quality medical care, but also money that would pay for the medical bills you have already accrued as a result of your injuries. A successful lawsuit could also provide you with compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, and loss of enjoyment of life.
To learn more about filing a product liability lawsuit against Amazon, contact our firm at 713-844-3750.
You can reach Blizzard Law, PLLC at:
5020 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006