WARNING: Defective Products
Products liability enables consumers to bring claims for injuries due to a product being defective. The most commonly known defects are manufacturing defects and design defects although there is a third category for defective products liability. This third category is inadequate instructions or warnings. Each of these three categories traces different flaws in a product to establish liability on the manufacturer or seller if an injury occurs. A manufacturing defect occurs when the product departs from the intended design even when all possible care was exercised in making the product. A design defect occurs when a reasonable alternative design was available to reduce the foreseeable risks of harm posed by the design of a product. A product is deemed defective due to inadequate warnings or instructions when the foreseeable risk of harm could have been reduced or avoided with reasonable warnings or when the omission of warnings renders the product not reasonably safe.
A manufacturer has a duty to make its products safe for use which includes providing adequate instructions and warnings that will reach the consumer. Manufacturers of products for which risks cannot feasibly be eliminated should let the consumer know what the risk is by providing a warning. Furthermore, the manufacturer should let the consumer know how to minimize the risk by proper use through instructions for the product.
In order to bring a claim for inadequate warnings the following elements need to be proven: (1) causation; (2) foreseeability; and (3) unreasonable danger. Causation requires a showing that the lack of warning was the proximate cause of the injury. Foreseeability requires a showing that the risk of danger due to a lack of warnings was foreseeable to the manufacturer. To prove unreasonable danger requires proof that danger is latent or not apparent to the consumer.
Inadequate warnings will not be found to be the proximate cause of an injury where potential danger is known and recognized. For example, a kitchen knife manufacturer would not be held liable for failing to warn if an individual were to cut their finger since the potential for cutting one’s finger is a known risk when using kitchen knives. Whereas, if a manufacturer of medication was aware of the danger their medication poses on a woman who is pregnant but failed to adequately warn an expecting mother of these dangers, the manufacturer would be held liable. A jury is to consider the degree of danger when deciding a case since a higher degree of danger requires a greater degree of protection. Therefore, a manufacturer of a more dangerous product, where the danger is not known and recognized, has a duty to use a higher degree of protection for consumers.
If you have been injured by a faulty consumer product, contact the skilled and experienced attorneys at Rudberg Law Offices, LLC at 1.866.306.2667 or email [email protected] for assistance.