You can sue Amazon, but this may not be the most efficient way to seek compensation for your injuries. This article will discuss potential options for recovering damages if you’re injured by a defective product purchased on Amazon.
However, if you need advice about a specific defective product claim, the best thing you can do is talk to a North Carolina defective products attorney about the particulars of your case.
First, let’s look at the legal precedent for suing Amazon. North Carolina allows an injured party to sue the manufacturer of a defective item and wholesalers, distributors, or retailers. In some cases, retailers may be able to use the “innocent seller” defense by claiming they had no chance to inspect the product, but this defense only works if the manufacturer is subject to the state’s jurisdiction.
But historically, Amazon has used another defense when sued for defective products sold on its website – claiming they are not a retailer or distributor and, therefore, not liable. Instead, the largest e-commerce company in the world has defined itself as an “online marketplace” and claimed it had nothing to do with the sale or distribution of third-party products sold on its site.
This defense was effective until August 2020, when the California Court of District Appeals ruled that Amazon could be held liable for damages caused by a defective laptop battery sold by a third-party company, Lenoge.
The plaintiff, Angela Bolger, purchased a laptop battery from Lenoge, and a few months later, it exploded, causing her severe burns. Bolger sued both Lenoge and Amazon, although Lenoge failed to appear. Amazon reiterated that it was only an online marketplace and couldn’t be sued as a seller or distributor of the defective product.
The trial court ruled in the website’s favor, but Bolger appealed the decision, and the appeals court later reversed it. This court noted that Amazon did put itself into the distribution chain between Bolger and Lenoge in multiple ways, from taking possession of the battery to marketing it to shipping it to Bolger.
The district court’s decision opened up the possibility that other defective product claims could also proceed against Amazon, prompting the company to preemptively offer to cover $1,000 in damages for people injured by defective products purchased on the site. This offer is now part of Amazon’s A to Z guarantee. It covers economic damages like medical bills or property damage – but will not pay for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
While this guarantee does provide a relatively easy way to get compensation without going to the trouble of filing a lawsuit, it likely doesn’t affect many people who defective products have injured. Most faulty product cases we see are worth more than $1,000, and we encourage you to speak to a lawyer before settling for such a small amount.
Frequently we find that clients have significantly underestimated their damages. Additionally, you may have substantial non-economic damages that should be considered.
First, please consult an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney. Amazon is a massive company with deep pockets and an army of legal experts.
They can afford to use every legal maneuver possible to drag out the lawsuit, possibly for years, hoping you’ll get tired of paying court costs and give up. If you want to sue them successfully, you will need assistance from a highly skilled personal injury team.
If your lawyer advises you against suing Amazon, take them seriously. Just because you can sue Amazon or any other party doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option to recover the compensation you deserve. In many cases, it is much simpler to sue one or more of the other potential defendants.
Remember that a lawsuit aims to recover your damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, permanent disability or disfigurement, and pain and suffering. For most people, receiving compensation as soon as possible is the most critical concern, not suing a particular company.
Your lawyer will also advise you if there is enough evidence to prove the product is defective. Sometimes, they may assign an investigative team to learn more about the product, how it failed, and whether other consumers have been affected by similar issues.
Often product manufacturers are small or medium-sized businesses with liability insurance for these situations. They don’t want to drag out a lawsuit, especially if it might involve bad publicity or mounting legal costs.
If you have compelling evidence that the manufacturer was negligent in producing a defective product that harmed you, the insurance company will probably be willing to negotiate a fair settlement. While the time to reach such a settlement varies, it’s usually resolved faster than a lawsuit against Amazon would be.
In cases where your damages exceed the limits of the company’s liability insurance, there may still be other parties we can sue for the rest of your damages. For example, the manufacturer may have received defective materials or components from another business, so you could name both companies as defendants in your lawsuit.
Also, remember that the manufacturer may or may not be the third-party seller who actually sold the product on Amazon. If the seller is a separate entity that purchased and resold the defective product on the site, they might also be a potential defendant.
At Tatum & Atkinson, our experienced legal team has recovered over $100 million in compensation for injured people. We have the experience to navigate the potentially complicated case of a defective product injury and prove the elements of negligence.
If you suspect a product you bought on Amazon caused your injuries, please contact us for a free case evaluation to learn your options. Remember that we never charge a fee until we win or settle your case, so please call 800-LAW-0804 now to learn more.