Facing Criminal Charges? Learn About Your Options Here

Factors That Determine Whether A Warning On A Dangerous Product Is Adequate

by Theresa Hoffman

Manufacturers of potentially dangers products are required to warn the public about the dangerous of their products. If a manufacturer fails to include such a warning, then they may face "failure to warn" lawsuits from injury victims harmed by the product. Here are four things such a warning should include for it to be considered adequate:

Should Include a Word Indicating Warning

A warning isn't adequate if you can't differentiate it from other things such as instructions for use or list of ingredients at the first glance. The only way to know that something is a warning is to precede it by a word that is generally known to refer to potential risk. For example, the headline should read "CAUTION" OR "DANGER." That way anybody using the product will be drawn to the warning immediately after picking up the item.

The Warning Should Be Specific

Secondly, the warning should describe exactly what it is warning you against. A generalization, such as "this product is dangerous" isn't enough. Is it poisonous? Does it burn? Can it explode? These are some of the questions the warning should answer so that the user knows exactly what they are dealing with.

The Warning Should Mention the Consequences

The warning should mention what will happen to you if you ignore it. Mentioning the consequences is a further way of "scaring" users into heeding the warning. For example, users should know whether the poison will cause abdominal pains or whether the irritant will cause skin rashes if used incorrectly. Saying that a product can affect the eyes if used incorrectly is different from saying that the product will cause blindness if used incorrectly; the latter is direr.

The Warning Should Explain Avoidance Techniques

Lastly, there should be a clear explanation on how to avoid the danger. Imagine telling a person that a product is poisonous and can cause blindness, but not telling them how to use the product correctly so that they can avoid loss of eyesight. It would be difficult to realize the objectives of such a half-baked warning – which is to prevent danger. Therefore, if a can should be opened in a specific way or if a container should be disposed of in a certain way, then it should say so in the warning.

As you can imagine, the manufacturer of a product that has caused injury would do anything possible to defend the warning on their product, even if the warning is inadequate. Therefore, if you have a failure to warn lawsuit, you also need to do everything in your power to show the inadequacy of the warning; start by consulting an experienced injury law firm like Law Offices of Sara J Frankel PC.