David S. Jasmer
Setting the Standard in Personal Injury
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The role of warnings and instructions in product liability

When most people think about holding manufacturers responsible for injuries caused by their products, they think about design and manufacturing flaws that can make a product potentially dangerous. However, manufacturers are also responsible for providing proper instructions and warnings about the possible dangers of their products. If they fail to do that, they can be held liable for any injury or harm that befalls someone who uses that product.

Sometimes, the warnings we see on products may seem obvious, such as not ingesting shampoo or not putting glue in our eyes. Some manufacturers include warnings like this that aren't required to help protect themselves from liability. However, warnings are required under certain circumstances. These include:

-- When the manufacturer is aware of a potential danger associated with its product

-- When a product could be dangerous even if it is used as it's intended to be used

-- If a potential danger would not be obvious to a reasonable person

Just placing a warning on a product is not enough. Manufacturers' warnings should be specific, clear and easy to read. They may be on the product, the packaging and in the instructions. Sometimes they appear in all three places. Warnings as well as instructions are generally provided in multiple languages, depending on where the product is sold.

If a manufacturer does not provide adequate warnings and instructions, and a consumer is harmed by a product, he or she may have cause for legal action. An experienced product liability attorney can provide guidance on what your legal options are for holding the manufacturer responsible for the harm caused and what kind of compensation you can seek.

Source: FindLaw, "Defects in Warnings," accessed Sep. 24, 2015

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