People have always wanted to be sure that they were getting what they paid for. The first balancing scales were invented more than 4,000 years ago. Justice is often represented as a blindfolded Lady Justice holding balancing scales, representing the balance between the strength of the defense case vs. the prosecution.
For Thousands of Years, the Rule was “Buyer Beware”
Of course, scales could be rigged. One of the most famous tricks was for the seller to secretly hold his thumb on one of the scales so that his customer didn’t receive as much as was being paid for. When Rome was first conquered by the barbarians, they demanded that the Romans pay them 1,000 pounds of gold. When the Romans complained that the scales weren’t accurate, the Celt chieftain Brennus threw his sword on top of the weights, reportedly saying, “Woe to the vanquished!” This was an extreme case of “Buyer Beware.”
The Evolution of Product Liability Law – Protecting the Consumer
Over the centuries, consumer protection often depended on the whim of the current ruler. More often, it was a case of “might made right.” Product liability law barely existed as an offshoot of contract law and favored manufacturers. It was commonly held that even if a manufacturer produced a defective product, the manufacturer couldn’t be sued unless the injured person had signed a contract directly with the manufacturer. Think about everything you buy. Consumers seldom sign contracts with the manufacturer for any of the thousands of products routinely purchased.
Product liability law has been evolving since the 1800s. Today, if a consumer is injured by a defective product, he or she has the right to consult a product liability attorney in Seattle.
Class Action Lawsuits
Criminal cases and most civil lawsuits concern only the individuals directly involved in the case. Class actions lawsuits originated in the U.S. One person can represent many others who were also injured but do not have to appear in court. This benefits both consumers and the court since once case can be heard rather than thousands.
Class Action Lawsuits Can Change History
- The famous Scopes case concerned whether or not the theory of evolution could be taught in public schools.
- Numerous cases against auto manufacturers have resulted in recalls of millions of vehicles and safer driving for millions who had no direct involvement with the lawsuits.
- The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement was designed to reduce deaths caused by smoking by regulating the marketing and sales of tobacco products.
If you or a member of your family have been injured by a defective product, you have the right to compensation for the injury. Product liability lawsuits are typically very complicated as they may involve numerous parties from the manufacturer to the retailer. Attorneys at The Hornbuckle Firm have considerable experience with product liability cases. Visit the website to read about past results and to schedule a free consultation to learn if you have a case.