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Consumer Safety and Products Liability

Home » Consumer Safety and Products Liability
December 23, 2017
Edward Smith


Consumer Safety and Products Liability

I’m Ed Smith, an Elk Grove personal injury lawyer. Consumers expect the items they purchase to be safe. We depend on manufacturers, retailers and distributors to emphasize safety concerns when designing and producing everything from toys to appliances. When this does not happen, consumers can be hurt.

Consumer Product Safety

In 1972, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission was created to make sure that consumers were not harmed by defective products. This agency protects the public from faulty appliances, toys, lawn mowers and many other items. The Department of Transportation regulates cars, trucks and motorcycles along with defective tires, air bags and brakes. The Food and Drug Administration oversees cosmetics, food items and drugs.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

The agency’s function is to:

  • develop standards for industry. This involves both mandatory and voluntary standards.
  • initiate the recall of defective products.
  • ensure refund or repair after recall.
  • research product hazards.
  • use different sources, such as media and governmental platforms, to educate consumers.

Department of Transportation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is charged with keeping motor vehicles and auto parts safe. They provide standards for the auto industry and conduct investigations after receiving complaints. Once a recall is initiated, the agency is charged with managing the recall. A recall can also be initiated by a manufacturer. If a manufacturer refuses, the NHTSA will become directly involved in the recall process. Consumers can file a safety complaint. You can check on recalls using the NHTSA site.

Product Liability

Product liability is the way consumers can hold manufacturers and others liable for harm due to a defective product under the law. The defect can lie with the manufacturing or design process. It can also involve a lack of adequate warnings.

Manufacturer: Defects in manufacturing occur due to poor workmanship or faulty materials.

Design: This occurs when the product’s design is faulty, making it inherently unsafe.

Warning: This occurs when warnings are not supplied for dangers that are not obvious but could be avoided if warnings were provided.

Strict Liability

Out of all states, California was the first to use the doctrine of strict liability for defective products in case law. Under Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, the requirement to prove negligence was replaced. It allows a consumer hurt by a product to affix responsibility on the manufacturer whether they were negligent or not. A year later, the responsibility was extended to everyone in the manufacturing chain to include suppliers, retailers and distributors. In 1969, it was further extended to include bystanders hurt by the product. The relief of not needing to provide proof of negligence lifted a costly prerequisite from product liability cases.

Cases of Product Liability

Under products liability law, all consumer products that cause harm to consumers can be part of a product liability lawsuit. These include medical devices such as metal-on-metal hip implants and IVC blood clot filters and drugs such as Vioxx. Other consumer products include toxic substances such as asbestos or defective auto products such as tires and seat belts.


Elk Grove Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an Elk Grove personal injury lawyer. If you or a family member was injured due to a defective product, you need the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer. You can reach me anytime at (916) 694-0002 in the area or (800) 404-5400 nationwide. You can also reach me online if you find this to be more convenient. I will provide friendly advice that is free of charge.

You might want to review what others have had to say about my law practice. Go to Avvo, the legal site, Yelp and Google. Check out my settlements and verdicts page to see how I’ve helped other clients.

The Million Dollar Advocates is a group of top-ranked trial attorneys who have won $1 million of more for their clients. I am proud to say I am a California member.

Interested in reading about more topics in personal injury law? Stay on, the website I founded to help clients understand legal issues.

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Final Photograph: Ed Smith, Elk Grove personal injury lawyer

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