Death from defective products is a problem that plagues many different types of industries in the United States. Many Orange County residents are probably familiar with some of the more recent product recalls involving a wide range of goods, including automobiles, prescription medications and even toys. Likewise, most people know that if they suffer an injury from an unsafe product, they may have a legal claim against the manufacturer or some other party.
However, fewer people are aware of various other laws that protect consumers. News about a massive recall of a dangerous product can cause panic amongst the product's owners and users. So who is responsible for protecting the public against these kinds of dangers?
In 1972, Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Act, which led to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC has legal authority to require product recalls or even to ban products in extreme cases.
Since 1972, Congress has amended the CPSA and added other similar laws to further protect consumers against dangerous products. For example, the Child Safety Protection Act aims to prevent small children from choking on products. Under that Act, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers must report incidents involving a child choking on their product. Furthermore, those products that pose certain risks of choking must include warning labels.
In addition to public laws that protect consumers, private citizens can file a lawsuit if a product harms them. Through a products liability action, victims or their families can seek monetary compensation for accidents that are related to insufficient warnings or any other product defect that leads to injury.
Congress has enacted broad laws to protect the public from dangerous products. But these laws cannot protect every person from every kind of product injury.
Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Statutes," Accessed on Sept. 16, 2014