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Products Liability

Failure to Warn in Product Liability Cases

September 30, 2020

Manufacturers and distributors can be held liable for any injuries that arise from their defective products. One of the ways that products can be defective is when they fail to warn of potential dangers or otherwise have deficient labeling. However, it isn’t always clear when manufacturers have an obligation to disclose certain risks or what they need to do to meet that obligation. If you’ve been injured by a defective product and want to know whether you have a claim, a Billings product liability attorney can review and discuss your case with you. 

Understanding a Manufacturer’s Obligation to Label Their Products

There are two main reasons that a manufacturer needs to label their products: 

  1. They need to provide adequate instructions concerning the safe use of their products.
  2. They need to warn consumers about potential, foreseeable dangers that aren’t immediately apparent that can arise from using the product. 

Almost any product you purchase these days comes with several labels, an instruction booklet, and other warnings in an attempt by the manufacturer to avoid liability due to a failure to warn. However, all of the labels and other papers don’t necessarily mean they have met their obligation. This is a fairly technical aspect of a product liability law, and you should speak with a Billings product liability attorney to discuss whether you have a claim. 

Is the Danger Obvious?

Surprisingly, manufacturers do not have an obligation to disclose or warn of obvious dangers. For example, a manufacturer of a camping stove may not need to disclose the possibility of burning yourself – the manufacturer may rely upon the consumer’s common sense that stoves are hot and there is a risk of getting burned if you are not careful. 

On the other hand, the manufacturer may have a duty to warn if there are surfaces other than the burner that unexpectedly become hot during use. Similarly, a manufacturer may need to warn against using the stove indoors due so that the stove can properly ventilate. Manufacturers need to warn consumers about non-obvious dangers that can arise while using the product. 

Is the Danger Foreseeable? 

The manufacturer’s duty to warn only applies to non-obvious hazards that are foreseeable. For example, electric curling irons and hair dryers are often used in the bathroom, so it’s foreseeable that they may come into contact with water. As a result, manufacturers arguably have a duty to warn of the dangers of electrocution while using these products. 

Warnings Must Be Conspicuous

In order to be considered adequate, any warnings provided by the manufacturer must be easy for the consumer to see and read. Unfortunately, determining whether the warning was easy to find, read, or understand isn’t easy – it will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. An experienced Billings product liability attorney can review your case and provide guidance as to whether the manufacturer’s warning was sufficiently conspicuous. 

Injured by an Unsafe Product? Contact a Billings Product Liability Attorney

If you’ve been injured by an unsafe product, you may be entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, product liability cases are extraordinarily complex and very difficult for non-lawyers to successfully pursue. Billings product liability attorney Jim Ragain can help you get the compensation you need. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 406-651-8888 or contact us online to discuss your case and how we can help.