When a consumer is harmed by a defective product, it is the manufacturer of the product that is typically liable for their injuries and other losses.
However, there are situations in which another party could have some legal responsibility for the losses created by defective products. Retailers can sometimes be responsible, especially if they failed to stop selling products subject to a recall or they played a crucial role in the distribution chain for the products.
A recent court ruling in California sets an important precedent that could potentially give rise to class action lawsuits involving those hurt by defective products.
What did the recent ruling involve?
Do you remember a few years ago in hoverboards were the Christmas gift everybody had to have? The frenzy about hoverboards died out pretty quickly when reports of them catching fire and hurting people went viral.
Many major brands of hoverboards were subject to recalls, and quite a few companies went out of business because of the dangerous products they sold. These failed businesses left hurt consumers with few options.
One individual affected by a hoverboard fire filed a lawsuit against Amazon, as the internet mega-retailer sold the item and shipped it. An appellate court in California recently ruled in favor of the plaintiff, allowing her lawsuit to move forward after a lower court dismissed it. This plaintiff now has a chance to hold a company responsible for selling a truly dangerous product to trusting consumers.
Other consumers affected by mass torts involving defective products could look at this recent ruling and decide to take action against the companies that sell dangerous products — not just the companies that manufacture them. Those retailers often have deeper pockets and can provide the compensation that injured consumers deserve.