One of the primary tenets of products liability law is that a supplier of goods has a duty to warn consumers of any possible dangers of using their products. The most common way manufacturers choose to do so is through warning labels. Whether a warning on a product is adequate in fulfilling this duty is subjective. There are, however, certain questions that courts seem to consider when determining if a product merited a warning label.
How to Determine if a Warning on a Product is Required
- Is it a dangerous product when used as intended? A manufacturer will generally have to include a warning if they are aware of their product’s danger, this danger is common during its intended use, and many users would not automatically be aware of this danger. These requirements are obviously open to some degree of interpretation, but they provide some basic scaffolding from which to build on.
- Can people use it safely without instructions? Should a product have a danger as described above, the manufacturer must instruct users on how to safely avoid that danger. Manufacturers must make this warning clear and specific, and they must place it on a location of the product that is easily visible. Furthermore, it is not enough merely to have a warning. Rather, the warning must be adequate in assisting the user in correctly and safely using the product.
Whether a manufacturer must include a warning label basically comes down to how dangerous a product is when people use it for its intended use. If it passes a varying threshold of danger, depending on the product, it must provide enough instruction so that a reasonable user could avoid this risk. Cases involving dangerous products often involve a lot of nuances, so it’s important to contact an experienced product liability attorney before making any final decisions.