In the cities of the ancient Roman Empire, many shops featured the slogan “caveat emptor” – “let the buyer beware.” This was an early form of legal disclaimer, putting the responsibility for safety and health squarely on the customer. But even the most carefully worded disclaimer today may not excuse the maker or seller from a trip to a courtroom.
What is the legal protection for customers?
The legal concept that protects the people who buy defective items or suffer the ill effects of bad design is called product liability. In its most simple form, this concept states that manufacturers or sellers may be financially responsible for the proven connected harmful effects of these items.
Who can be responsible for the damage or injury involved?
In general, whoever was directly responsible for a failure that cause the damage or injury may be legally liable. This could be a firm that designed an item with an inherent flaw or a maker that manufactured it with substandard materials. In some cases, a retailer who simply accepts a faulty good and then sells it may be liable for any related harm.
What about objects that could hurt you even when they work?
Some consumer items, like a chainsaw, can always be harmful if used incorrectly. The legal point here would be if a designer or maker took every reasonable precaution to make the safest possible version of the product.
Who can help after a product-related injury?
An attorney can help rule on the possibility of a product liability lawsuit after an injury or damage to personal property. Talk to a lawyer if this is the case for you.