Consumer Protection Laws and Agencies
Numerous federal and state consumer protection laws, regulations, and safety orders concerning a variety of products might be helpful in proving a product liability case. Showing that a defendant violated a statute or other applicable regulation gives a plaintiff an outstanding advantage. In addition, legislation such as the Consumer Products Safety Act might provide for a direct civil action by an injured consumer.
Also, there are specific federal statutes that address certain industries and product categories. For instance, automobile manufacturers must comply with a whole slew of safety regulations that include crash test ratings, the use of seat belts, and other specifications required for legal sales. When companies fail to comply with the regulations required for their industry or product, they face serious liability for any injuries resulting from the lapse.
See Legal Basis for Liability in Product Cases to learn how the law protects consumers from dangerous products.
The following is a listing of agencies with whom your attorney might consult, the consumer protection laws and regulations they issue, and the services they provide:
- The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is an independent federal agency whose main purpose is to reduce injuries to consumers. The Commission issues consumer product safety alerts, and may have helpful information relative to your claim.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) publishes numerous regulations and pamphlets on workplace safety and health standards, the use of industrial substances, and safety in industrial and construction operations. See OSHA FAQs to learn more.
- The Environmental Protection Agency, which has the authority for air, water and pesticide standards, issues many publications on such topics. See Key Federal Environmental Laws to learn more.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration establishes the standards for food, drugs, medical devices and cosmetics, and also has information on drug ingredients and food and drug manufacturing methods. See Food Recalls and Why Drugs Get Pulled from the Market to learn more.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration develops and issues safety standards for all new cars, conducts research on accident prevention, investigates motor vehicle defects and enforces notification of defects to owners of record. Numerous publications are produced by the Administration for consumers and their lawyers. See Car Safety Recalls to learn more.
- The Federal Highway Administration is concerned with improving highway safety and conducts highway safety research relating to trucks and buses.
- The Transportation Research Board will conduct a computerized search and furnish abstracts of all engineering articles pertaining to highway topics.
- State police or highway patrols might also be able to provide information on regulations concerning the use and equipment of motor vehicles.
- Most state fire marshals issue fire safety standards and basic building design and construction standards.
- The United States Coast Guard sets standards, makes factory inspections and conducts investigations of consumer complaints of defective boats. The Coast Guard notifies boat owners when defects are found.
Get a Free Case Review
Understanding how consumer protection laws ensure product safety is an important way to enforce those laws, but they can be both complicated and technical. A lawyer's assisstance can remove a lot of the guesswork. Contact a qualified local attorney for a free initial consultation to discuss how you were injured by a defective product and learn more about whether you may have a valid claim.