Amazon Product Liability Case May Affect California Consumers

Nowadays, it seems that ordering items from Amazon is as ubiquitous as getting groceries from the store. With a vast array and selection of products at various price points and fast two-day shipping, California consumers have built a reliance on the e-commerce provider over the years. When a product you order from Amazon injures you, however, you may have grounds to bring a product liability claim against the company or the seller depending on the context of the case.

In a recent California Court of Appeal decision, a plaintiff brought a product liability claim against Amazon for injuries she suffered from an allegedly defective hoverboard. The plaintiff purchased the board as a Christmas gift for her son, who plugged it into an outlet in the plaintiff’s bedroom to charge. The plaintiff’s boyfriend later discovered a fire burning in her bedroom, and her bed and the hoverboard were on fire. The plaintiff suffered burns to her hand and foot as a result of fighting the fire. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Amazon. The plaintiff appealed her strict and negligent product liability claims.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment. In its opinion, the court acknowledged that Amazon was a link in the vertical chain of distribution. E-commerce, however, may not fit into a traditional sales structure analysis adopted by the court, so there was a triable issue of material fact and the trial court erred in dismissing the case too soon. In addition, the Court was unpersuaded by Amazon’s argument that it was merely a service provider and not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

In California, any person or entity that designs, manufactures, or sells a defective product is strictly liable for the injuries that are caused by the product. This liability could attach even when the individual or company was not negligent in causing the injury to the consumer. California products liability laws impose strict liability for three types of product defects: (1) design defects, where there is something inherently flawed in the design that made it dangerous, (2) manufacturing defects, where something went wrong during the manufacturing process of the product that made it dangerous, and (3) warning defects, where the manufacturer or company failed to adequately warn consumers of the dangerous condition of the product.

Strict liability attaches to a defendant in California products liability law when the product is deemed to be more dangerous than it should be. In addition, California laws require manufacturers and companies to anticipate how consumers would use or misuse products. If a reasonable person took expected precautions to minimize the harm of the product and was still injured, the defendant could be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries depending on the context of the case.

Do You Need a California Products Liability Attorney?

If you or someone you know has been recently injured by a defective product in California, you should contact the attorneys at the Sharifi Firm for assistance. Our attorneys represent accident victims of all kinds in southern and northern California and have worked on all types of personal injury cases. We handle California car accidents, slip and falls, and more. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 866-422-7222.

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