Sometimes people are not aware of possible dangers that could arise from using a product. This is why manufacturers have a responsibility to include instructions to guide the user to help avoid injury. If a manufacturer fails to provide adequate warning along with the product, a person who gets injured from using the product may have a legal case for damages.
As FindLaw explains, the law considers a product defective if the manufacturer does not provide adequate instructions or warnings to alert a user to possible risks of harm. If someone suffers injury because of a lack of warning, the injury victim may sue the manufacturer under the “failure to warn” principle.
When manufacturers should supply warnings
Not all products require warnings. Typically, a product needs warnings when the product meets certain criteria. The product must present a danger that the manufacturer knows about. The danger must present itself when a person uses the product in a reasonable fashion, meaning the user is not incorrectly or recklessly using the product. Finally, the danger is not obvious to the user. It is up to the manufacturer to point it out to whoever buys the product.
Characteristics of warning labels
A manufacturer should include a warning in a place where the user can see it. A person should not have to hunt through the product or the packaging to find a warning label. That is why manufacturers usually place a conspicuous sticker on the product using bright yellow, red or orange colors. They may also place warnings in multiple places, perhaps on the product, the product packaging, or in the instruction manual.
A user should also understand the warning label. Many manufacturers use a simple word like “Caution” or “Danger” to alert the user. However, not all American customers understand the English language. As a result, manufacturers tend to mark warning labels in non-English words or use pictures and symbols.
Reading the warning literature
As IndustryWeek points out, some people may receive proper warning literature but fail to read it and later suffer injury from using the product. People in these circumstances may still win damages from a manufacturer, but it typically depends on whether the warning literature contained misleading or hard to understand information that would not have stopped the injury from happening even if the user had read it.