Failure to Warn May Result in Liability

If you watch television at all, then you’ve seen the pharmaceutical ads on with the long list of potential side effects – including death. Why would these companies share all of this information? Well, it’s the law. If a manufacturer fails to adequately warn of potential dangers of its products’ use, it might be liable for any resulting injuries.

There are two types of product liability cases: strict product liability lawsuits and negligence cases. Regardless of type, it falls on the manufacturer to make product warnings visible and understandable to their intended users. Warning labels should be placed in highly visible areas on the product’s packaging or even on the product itself. Warnings that do not follow these protocols could result in legal liability.

Strict liability holds the defendant in a product liability case accountable, whether or not negligence was involved. Failing to warn a consumer of a potential hazard is considered a product defect and careful consideration is given to whether the risk of injury the plaintiff suffered was obvious, or completely unpredictable.

A couple examples include: if an automotive manufacturer failed to warn drivers and passengers that the airbags would not deploy in certain circumstances, the company could be held liable. However, a book of matches is not required to have a warning stating that the matches might start a fire.

On the other hand, negligence is when the defendant is liable for injuries if the plaintiff can prove that the failure to provide a warning of potential danger caused the injuries to occur. Special consideration is given when deciding whether or not the risk of injury was obvious or unpredictable.

It’s important to note that the courts will also look at whether the plaintiff was using the product as it was intended. If it was not being used in the way that it was meant to be, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant should have been aware that the product could have been misused in that way and thus caused injury. Failure to warn of this potential hazard could make the manufacturer liable for the injuries sustained.

For more information on what do if you’ve suffered a personal injury or if should you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, please contact Michael Miller or Dustin Hightower at 770-942-5171 or visit

Miller & Hightower, P.C., Attorneys at Law

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