Are Warning Labels Important in Product Liability Cases?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Joe Jones with Law Office of Bruce A. Ralston.
In most cases, manufacturers are required to inform consumers of any potential risks associated with their products; this constitutes a warning label. Just as a disclaimer does not necessarily negate liability, a product with a warning label does not necessarily preclude the manufacturer from liability. When someone is injured by a potentially dangerous or defective product, it’s a good idea to reach out to a product liability attorney to discuss your options for recovery.
Not all products need warning labels.
Despite the apparent necessity of warning labels, some products may not inherently require one. For example, product liability cases involving products that are obviously dangerous such as tools or weapons may come down to whether or not the jury believes someone should reasonably have been aware of the danger the product presented; this “reasonable understanding” test applies to many personal injury cases. However, if a product contains certain dangers or defects which were not communicated in the warning label, or which were grossly dangerous without regard for consumer safety, a product liability case may still be viable.
It can be difficult for the layperson to determine the effect of a warning label on the viability of a case.
The problem in these situations, however, is the difficulty in identifying the legitimacy of a warning label. This is why it is particularly important to reach out to a product liability attorney if you were injured by any product, with or without a warning label. These attorneys have the expert resources necessary to evaluate the relative danger of a product, as well as to assess to what degree the warning label and instructional material of the product limit liability.
Do not throw away the label, product, or packaging.
If you have been injured by a potentially defective product, it is important to retain possession of the item itself as well as any warning labels, instructional material, and packaging which accompanied it. This allows a product liability attorney to assess the language used in this material to see if any warning presented was sufficient to account for the risks of the product. If the product or accompanying material has already been turned into the Consumer Product Safety Commission, you may request to have it returned to you as soon as possible. While warning labels can certainly complicate a product liability case, it does not necessarily negate the case entirely.
Some warnings may be insufficient.
A common issue with warning labels is that although they warn of a danger in broad terms, the warning is too nonspecific to be of use to the consumer. If a warning label is not sufficient to help a consumer prevent harm to themselves or others, it will likely have little bearing on the relative success of a case. Alternatively, if the warning label was sufficient but was placed somewhere a consumer was unlikely to see or unable to understand it, the label may also be considered moot in regard to preventing manufacturer liability.
If you or a loved one were injured by a defective product, regardless of the warning label, reach out to a product liability attorney to discuss your options for recovery.