What are Consumer Protection Laws?

Consumer protection laws are federal and state statutes that regulate seller and lender practices concerning consumer goods. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are federal agencies that handle product safety standards and consumer complaints, respectively.

These laws typically go beyond the traditional legal remedies available for breach of warranty. These laws are found in nearly every state, but the details may vary.

  • Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCPA)
    • Limits what debt collectors can do when contacting or seeking you out to repay a debt.
    • Specifically prohibits such things as harassment.
    • Statutory damages and attorney’s fees can be awarded for debt collectors that do not comply.
  • Truth in Lending Act (TILA)
    • Covers a broad range of conduct, such as charging exorbitant interest rates on credit cards and other loans.
    • Covers hiding fees and penalties in the fine print of agreements.
  • False or Misleading Advertising and Pricing
    • This is covered under federal law, and most states have their own statutes that address such practices.
      • Many states tie-in warranty clauses.
    • Examples of false or misleading practices can include car salesmen using “bait and switch” tactics. Another example could be a seller selling you a broken product, whether intentionally or negligently.

A big problem that consumers face is the relatively small amount of economic damages that they suffer as a result of a company’s improper conduct.

A class action lawsuit helps to equalize or tip the balance of power. An individual whose rights have been violated can join together with others who have similar claims against the same defendant.

In ordinary lawsuits, a plaintiff can typically only recover his or her actual losses. However, many consumer protection laws allow consumers to seek additional penalties, which can drastically increase the damage award, sometimes even tripling the amount of actual damages.

If you think that your rights have been violated, contact a consumer rights lawyer that can answers your questions and get you the help that you need. Many lawyers offer free consultations, and there are statute of limitations to consider in some cases. Thus, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

What Traffic Law Violations Cause Wrecks?

Vehicle safety regulations exist largely to minimize the number of auto accidents and improve the efficiency at which traffic moves. Disobeying a traffic law can often put other vehicle occupants and pedestrians at risk for injury in a traffic collision. Police enforce traffic laws rigorously, and if a violation results in an accident, the driver may be responsible for injuries and damages resulting from the crash.

A skilled lawyer can utilize police reports, observe damages and injuries resulting from the crash, talk to eyewitnesses and work with professionals who can reconstruct an accident in order to determine who is at fault and whether someone broke a law.

Breaking almost any traffic law can cause a car crash, but some of the most commonly broken regulations that result in collisions include:

  • Following too close/tailgating – Drivers must maintain a safe distance from other drivers on the road so that if one car needs to brake suddenly, the driver behind it has time to react and stop before a rear end collision occurs. These back end crashes can cause severe injuries, especially when the vehicles involved travel at high speeds.
  • Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign – Disregarding stop signs or traffic lights can result in fatal accidents, especially when the violating vehicle strikes another car directly on the driver or passenger’s side.
  • Speeding – Driving above the speed limit may give a driver less time to react to sudden obstacles, poor road conditions or other vehicles. Drivers should also adjust their speeds to compensate for weather conditions such as rain or fog.
  • Driving while Intoxicated – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense, since it greatly inhibits a driver’s reaction time and other factors that are important for safe driving.
  • Cell phone use while driving – Many – but not all – states ban drivers from texting and talking on cell phones or other mobile devices while driving.
  • Careless driving, reckless driving and similar offenses – Various offenses exist to penalize drivers who are inattentive or driving dangerously. The definition of these terms and what types of behavior are prohibited by law differ from state to state. However, reckless driving typically indicates a willful and wanton disregard for traffic laws and comes with severe punishments.

Need to Talk to a Lawyer Who Investigates Traffic Violations?

Breaking the rules of the road may not only lead to criminal punishments, but also civil liability. In order to prove whether any traffic violation occurred, you need to seek out an experienced lawyer who can investigate accidents in order to determine the cause.

Illinois Strikes Time Limits to Criminally Prosecute Sexual Abuse of Minors

In August 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into the law SB 189, an amendment to the criminal code regarding sexual abuse of minors. The new law allows for prosecution of sexual abuse of children at any time, basically completely eradicating the statute of limitations for criminal cases. Previously, the victim had 20 years after attaining the age of majority at 18 to come forward for a criminal prosecution to take place. This law is hailed as progress and an achievement for individuals who have been childhood victims of sexual abuse. Some of these people harmed as minors do not understand what happened to them as young children, or they have repressed the memories. This new law allows police and prosecutors to pursue criminal perpetrators of sexual abuse without time limitations, and reads as follows:

(j)(1) When the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, a prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or felony criminal sexual abuse may be commenced at any time.

Note that this new law affects criminal prosecutions of sexual abuse of minors in Illinois, not civil actions. However, Illinois does have an extended time period to file a civil lawsuit for personal injury for childhood sexual abuse victims. Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 735, § 13-202.2(b) allows a victim 10 years after discovering the injury and that the injury was caused by child sexual abuse:

§ 13-202.2(b): An action for damages for personal injury based on childhood sexual abuse must be commenced within 10 years of the date the victim discovers that the act of childhood sexual abuse occurred and that the injury was caused by the childhood sexual abuse.

Anyone thinking about disclosing their childhood abuse in criminal and civil court should have a personal injury attorney evaluating the situation and offering legal advice and options. Individuals who speak out against these horrific crimes need support to shine a bright light on these criminal behaviors.

Were You Hurt in a Traffic Accident?

Traffic accidents happen regularly, and they often result in significant damage and injuries. In most states, the person at fault for a traffic accident is the one found negligent, and that person or the insurance company (who is not a party to the lawsuit, typically, but has a third-party contract with the driver) is responsible for the medical bills, vehicle repairs and victims’ damages.

However, the determining who is responsible is not always simple, and disputes can arise about who was at fault for a crash. When victims of auto accidents do not receive the compensation they need, personal injury lawyers can help. Injury lawyers know how to investigate car accidents and talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company in order to get victims compensation.

When is a Driver Negligent?

Many actions can make a driver negligent and ultimately responsible for a traffic collision. Examples of negligence include:

  • Inattentiveness – If a driver is in a hurry or simply forgets to observe the road fully, a serious traffic accident can result.
  • Disobeying a traffic law – Many traffic laws are in place to make the road safe. When a driver travels at an unsafe speed, tailgates another vehicle or attempts another type of illegal maneuver, that driver acts in violation of the law and is liable for damages.
  • Driving while distracted – Though cell phone use in a vehicle is not illegal in every state, it still counts as a distraction and anyone using a handheld phone at the time of an accident is negligent. Other distractions include eating, drinking, applying makeup or anything that takes a driver’s focus away from the road.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – Driving while intoxicated is one of the most serious offenses a driver can commit. Drunk drivers often cause fatal accidents, which can result in both criminal and civil liability.

How Can a Lawyer Find Out Who is at Fault for a Traffic Accident?

When traffic collisions occur, experienced lawyers have a variety of tools at their disposal that allow them to find out who is at fault for a traffic wreck. The following are a few resources lawyers use to assist victims:

  • Police reports – Police officers can greatly support a victim’s case. A police report specifies the details of the crash based on the information the officers can acquire at the scene.
  • Injuries and Damages – The physical effects of the accident on the vehicles, people and environment can provide significant details about the cause of the wreck.
  • Expert Investigators – Professional car and truck accident investigators can use available evidence to reconstruct the scene of the accident in order to determine what occurred.

Lawyers Who Handle Traffic Accidents

Many personal injury lawyers deal with traffic wreck liability. If you have a dispute about how much compensation you should receive from an insurance company or other driver following a car accident, having a lawyer on your side is imperative. A lawyer can negotiate a settlement or take a case to court if necessary to seek compensation on your behalf.

 

Is Testosterone Therapy Safe for My Heart?

As men grow older, hormone fluctuations could cause fatigue, lower libido, depression and other symptoms. Despite documented health risks, aggressive marketing campaigns have encouraged the notion that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a “cure-all” for the effects of normal aging.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation into testosterone therapy after receiving reports of heart attack, stroke and premature death in older men.

In November 2013, a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that men who received TRT had a 30 percent increased risk of heart attack, stroke or death. The average participant in the study was about 60 years old, and a large percentage had underlying heart conditions.

In 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine had to stop a similar study before it was completed, because subjects showed an increased rate of heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues.

Testosterone levels can be raised naturally through changes in diet, increased exercise and vitamin supplements, but drug companies continue to market TRT to people who are most vulnerable to the drug’s harmful side effects. Business is booming, and consumer health is secondary to their bottom line.

Proffitt & Cox – South Carolina injury lawyers

Are Women and Young People the Future of Cycling?

Cities nationwide are using cycling to attract young people and active commuters to their area.

The “millennial generation”, ranging from ages 18-35, is more open to alternative transportation than other age groups. Cities are hoping that investments in cycling infrastructure will help them compete for the “most mobile generation ever.”

Less than one percent of Americans commute solely by bicycle, but those cyclists are part of a coveted demographic. Bicycle commuters are usually young male professionals aged 16-44, and they will flock to areas that provide bicycling amenities.

Despite the small percentage of women in cycling, some transportation experts believe that female involvement is an important indicator of a city’s bicycle culture. Cycling conditions are generally safer, more convenient and more comfortable in areas where women ride regularly.

As cycling gains popularity, cities will continue to vie for the “creative and economic energy” that comes from an active population. Millennials and their fellow cyclists are doing more than just riding, they are contributing to the economy and stimulating a spirit of innovation.

To attract dedicated commuter cyclists, cities have to be willing to invest in safety measures like dedicated bike lanes and protective barriers. Without a safe place to ride, cyclists are risking life and limb every time they travel.

Dudek Law Firm, APC – San Diego Bike Accident Attorney

Why Are Women Safer Drivers than Men?

San Diego women drive more safely than men, according to data released by San Diego County.

From 2000 to 2009, men died in car accidents three times more often than women did. The driver who survived the crash was four times more likely to be a man as well.

Men are more likely to commit traffic violations like speeding, failing to yield and running red lights. Women are still involved in their share of accidents, but on average men engage in more risky driving behaviors.

The study also showed that alcohol use is the distinguishing factor between male and female car accidents. Men are responsible for 80 percent of drunk-driving fatalities in San Diego.

San Diego’s study provides important insight into male and female driving habits, but more importantly it shows the impact of driving while intoxicated.

Drunk drivers are dangerous regardless of gender, because they are less coordinated, have trouble maintaining speed and react more slowly to changes on the road. As soon as drunk drivers get behind the wheel, they risk their own lives and the lives of every other motorist.

Dudek Law Firm, APC – San Diego Personal Injury Attorney

Do Motorcyclists Need Formal Training?

ABATE of Colorado, a motorcycle rights organization, is currently adding more motorcycle classes for beginning and experienced riders seeking their motorcycle endorsement. Beginner classes are scheduled for the weekends of August 16, August 23, September 6 and September 20. Intermediate classes will be offered on July 19 and 20, including one with license testing.

Studies have shown that basic motorcycle training can help save lives, even among experienced riders.

Most older motorcycle riders take up the sport because they rode in their youth, or they want to discover a new hobby. No matter what your experience level is, formal training teaches riders important skills that could save their lives.

Last year, more than 90 percent of riders killed in Colorado motorcycle accidents were men over the age of 45. The right training can help riders make adjustments for common issues like vision problems, slower reflexes and less physical stamina.

Common mistakes, like taking curves too fast or losing control on rough roads, kill hundreds of motorcyclists every year. Statistics show that honing riding skills through training refines existing skills and prepares even experienced riders for unpredictable situations.

Metier Law Firm, LLC Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Representing Clients Nationwide

Do Specialty Hospitals Make a Difference for Spinal Cord Injury?

Recovering from a spinal cord injury (SCI) can require extensive medical treatment and physical rehabilitation.

SCI patients are extremely vulnerable to pneumonia, pulmonary edema and respiratory failure because spinal injuries may weaken respiratory muscles. Increased physical activity may help patients strengthen lung function, prevent bedsores, and retain a fuller range of motion in injured muscle groups.

The level of care a patient receives significantly impacts the outcome of any spinal injury. On average, patients treated at specialized facilities fare better than those treated at general hospitals, but the improvement in care comes at a price.

In May, a firefighter and father of three fractured six vertebrae in an ATV accident, leaving him an “incomplete quadriplegic”. He still has movement in his left arm but not his hand, and he still feels pain throughout his entire body.

Now, his daughter is holding fundraisers and selling t-shirts to get him moved to Craig Hospital in Denver, an award-winning facility for SCI and traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment. She has raised $26,000 so far, but the family needs $83,000 to make the transfer.

Craig Hospital boasts that its “graduates” recover more fully than patients from other rehabilitation programs; they make greater functional gains during treatment, are discharged at higher rates and require less attendant care. Unfortunately, only those who can pay the price have access to specialized medical treatment.

SCI patients may still recover in a general treatment facility, but maybe not as fully as they would have in a specialized treatment program.

Metier Law Firm, LLC – Injury Attorneys Serving Clients Nationwide            

Paralyzed Patients Walk Again with Help from ‘Bionic’ Suit

After an ATV accident, a 26-year-old man was left with a severed spinal cord. Surgeons assumed he would never walk again.

A special ‘bionic’ suit, however, is changing the game; he can now push his hips and legs forward using a motorized body suit called “ReWalk.” The system uses computers and motion sensors to help him move, while upper body support comes from forearm crutches.

The ReWalk system is not the only one raising hopes in spinal cord injury patients. Another team hopes by implanting electrical stimulators on patients’ nerve endings, they can retrain the spinal nerves to work with the brain again.

Though this second approach has shown incredible results, it is far from perfect. The method has occasionally resulted in terrible damage to patients’ nerves and muscles.

Almost 300,000 Americans live with spinal cord injuries. Nearly half of them are between 16 and 30, with car accidents and falls being the most common causes.

While getting up at all is a tremendous psychological boost for those with spinal cord injuries, mobility also has a positive impact on internal organs, digestion and muscle tone. The promise of being able to walk again is frequently enough to motivate many paralyzed patients.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, Depaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia Injury Attorneys