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Can Online Retailers Be Liable for Injuries from Defective Products?

 Posted on January 19, 2021 in Personal Injury

Kent County, MI personal injury attorney defective product

In Michigan, if you suffer an injury due to a defect in a product that you are using, you may have a case for compensation from the product’s designer, manufacturer, or seller, depending on the circumstances. However, with the growing prevalence of online shopping, it can be more difficult to determine who the seller actually is. For example, if you purchase a defective product through Amazon, should you pursue compensation from Amazon itself, or from the company that uses Amazon to sell its products? To answer this question, it is helpful to examine Michigan’s product liability laws, as well as recent defective product cases involving Amazon throughout the United States.

Who Is Liable for Defective Product Injuries in Michigan?

Michigan law establishes a high standard for demonstrating negligence in a defective product case. Depending on the situation, you may need strong evidence of some or all of the following:

  • The product was unsafe when it left the manufacturer or seller.

  • An alternative production practice could have reasonably prevented the defect.

  • The product or the manufacturing process that created it was not in compliance with federal or state laws.

  • The product was not altered from the state in which it was purchased.

  • The injuries were not caused by unforeseeable misuse of the product.

  • You were not aware of the risk of injury from using the product and the manufacturer or seller failed to provide a legally mandated warning.

Additionally, Michigan law includes the following stipulations regarding the liability of a seller other than the product’s manufacturer:

  • A seller can be considered liable if their failure to exercise reasonable care regarding the product, or their breach of an implied warranty, was the cause of the injuries.

  • A seller can be considered liable after making an express warranty regarding the product if the injuries result from a failure to conform to that warranty.

These two scenarios may be of particular relevance in a case involving a defective product purchased from Amazon or another online third-party retailer.

Defective Product Cases Involving Amazon

Amazon has typically held that it is not responsible for defective products sold by users of their platform, but recent cases suggest that the company may begin to face increased accountability. For example, a Pennsylvania Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of a woman who was injured by a defective dog leash purchased on Amazon, deciding that Amazon was liable, and courts in other states have referenced this ruling in their deliberations on other defective product cases in which Amazon was named as a defendant.

Contact a Kent County, MI Defective Product Injury Attorney

If you have been injured by a defective product, Attorney John D. Tallman will thoroughly investigate your case to determine whether there is evidence of negligence on the part of the manufacturer or seller, including an online retailer. To learn more about how we can help you recover damages for your pain and suffering, schedule a free consultation. Call our experienced Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer today at 616-361-8850.







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