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Product Liability Cases

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Product liability cases have brought about major changes in the way manufacturers do business, but consumer protection was not always supported by law. In fact, until the 1916 decision in the case of MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. that was written by Justice Benjamin Cardozo. It was the first decision that allowed a person who did not have a contract with the manufacturer to sue for damages and win.

Product Liability Cases Today

In the 90 years since then, lawsuits relating to product liability have changed the world. Because of product liability suits in which the victims were recompensed at great cost to manufacturers, many products are safer today than ever before. Automobiles, for example, are much safer now that manufacturers know consumers have recourse should an obvious, dangerous defect be hidden from the public and cause serious injury or death. The public is no longer subjected to the results of drugs that were not adequately tested or developed hastily.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of product liability cases clogging the courts today. Most of them are legitimate and require the plaintiff to prove negligence or strict liability on the part of the manufacturer. Some of these cases take over a year to litigate, and many times the plaintiff cannot prove the complaint. When they do succeed, however, the result can be a huge amount in punitive damages.

Product Liability Cases and Changes

Many of the improvements in products, from cars to pills to children's toys, have resulted from successful product liability lawsuits. Manufacturers are more dedicated than ever to making sure their products are safe and that the end users have as much information as possible about how to use them safely. With Judge Cordozo's decision, the manufacturing world was put on notice that the end user is important and must be protected as much as is reasonably possible.


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