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Failure to Sufficiently Instruct or Warn

No matter how obvious or common sense a product’s instructions may seem, manufacturers must legally provide product warnings and instructions as it is their duty to warn all potential end consumers.  Insufficient or lack thereof warnings and instructions could potentially lead to a product liability claim.

Definition of Failure-to-Warn

Under the law of strict product liability, manufacturers are required to provide warning labels on all products.  Failure to warn consumers about the foreseeable dangers or risks that could occur when using a product could be considered a defective or insufficient warning.  If an injury occurs, the manufacturer will be held liable for a product liability claim, even if there are no inherent design flaws and the product was properly manufactured.

Examples of a failure-to-warn claim:

  • A blender that is packaged with insufficient warning concerning the danger of using the blender without its top.
  • A car battery that does not include on its label a warning that its acid is caustic and will burn skin, clothing, or cause blindness if the internal liquid comes into physical contact.
  • A waffle iron that is sold with insufficient instructions for safe handling when in use.

In a failure-to-warn claim, a plaintiff can only pursue a case if they were injured from the failure to warn or properly instruct while in its intended use.  If the car battery is dropped on the plaintiff’s foot and they were injured, this would not fall under the claim.  However, if the plaintiff were repositioning the car battery and acid spilled on their hand, causing the plaintiff to suffer severe burns; the latter set of events would lend itself to a failure-to-warn claim.

When including directions with a product, the warnings must be concise, explicit, and conspicuous.  The product’s warnings must be easily accessible and understandable to the end consumer.  Manufacturers may accomplish this by using bold and bright, contrasting colors that will catch consumers' attention.  Furthermore, warning labels must be included in at least one spot; the product itself, the products packaging, or within the product’s instruction booklet.

Manufacturers are held to a duty of not only warning end consumers but also to stay informed about their product.  Liability by the manufacturer cannot be avoided by the simple notion of being unaware of the dangers. Manufacturers will be held liable for a failure-to-warn claim if the danger was foreseeable through a reasonable product testing.


Contact Us for Help

We are happy to help with your questions and discuss your claim to help you decide if your case is worth pursuing in courts.  Call the Gallagher Law Firm at (888) 222-7052 or click here to contact us online

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