When a manufacturer creates and distributes a product, it has a duty to notify consumers of any potential hazards or risks that using that product carries. If an injury occurs as a direct result of such notification, the manufacturer is guilty of failure to warn, and victims may hold the manufacturer liable for damages in a product liability case.
Understanding Duty to Warn in Product Liability Cases
In the event that the risk associated with using a product is obvious, a manufacturer usually does not need to warn of the risk. For example, the manufacturer of a candle may not need to provide a warning that a candle, when lit, can cause a burn injury.
Take note, however, that what is obvious to one party may not be obvious to another, such as the famous example of the spilled hot McDonald’s coffee. While most people would assume coffee is hot, a victim held the company liable for burn injuries caused by the coffee, in part due to the lack of a warning label.
However, when the risk is not obvious or predictable, product liability laws require a manufacturer to provide a warning. For example, pharmaceutical manufacturers of any potentially dangerous drugs that cause any side effects must make the effects known.
Even though the effects are mostly known, tobacco companies—defendants in one of the most famous failures to warn mass torts in history—must still provide a warning label about the cancer-causing effects of smoking on the packaging.
The Elements of a Failure to Warn Case
Failure to warn cases are negligence-based product liability cases. The elements of these cases are as follows.
- The manufacturer created a product with a known hazard or associated risk of use.
- The manufacturer had a duty to the consumer to discuss known hazards or associated risks.
- The manufacturer did not make the risk known to the consumer.
- The consumer suffered harm while using the product that she would not have suffered had the manufacturer given appropriate warning.
If victims can prove the points above, they can hold the manufacturer liable for any injuries they suffered from using the product.
Contact a Product Liability Attorney Today
If you suffered injuries from a product that did not contain an adequate warning label unveiling associated risks of using the product, you may be eligible for damages. Contact the Law Office of Julie Johnson PLLC to schedule a consultation today to learn more about pursuing damages. Call Julie Johnson now at 214-290-8001.
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