Product manufacturers and sellers are responsible for creating safe products that do not pose undue risks. If you were injured because you were not advised of a product’s potential dangers, you could potentially sue the responsible party for failure to warn.
Understanding 'Failure To Warn' in Product Liability Law
Failure to warn is a marketing defect characterized by a lack of adequate warning labels or instructions for a product. To seek compensation, you can file a failure to warn claim, a type of product liability lawsuit.
Unlike defective product lawsuits for manufacturing errors or design flaws, a failure to warn case does not arise from a product failure. Instead, it points out that the manufacturer should have known about and warned of the product's potential dangers.
Common failure to warn examples include:
- Pesticides or herbicides that do not advise of the potential health risks of exposure.
- A children’s toy that does not warn of choking or smothering hazards.
- Electronic devices that do not warn users of potential electric shock hazards.
- Equipment or tools without adequate safety warnings or instructions.
- Household appliances that do not provide enough operating instructions or safety warnings.
- A drug or supplement that fails to warn of potential side effects or interactions.
How it Works
When you become ill or injured because you were not informed of a product's risks, you may have a legal right to seek compensation. When you file a failure to warn lawsuit, you assert that the manufacturer or distributor had a duty to warn about the danger that caused your injury.
You typically must be able to show that you used the product in a reasonably foreseeable way.
Proving Legal Liability
To establish your product liability claim for failure to warn, you do not necessarily have to prove negligence or ill intent. Strict liability often applies to product defects cases. This means you could hold the manufacturer, distributor, or seller liable for your injuries regardless of their intent.
Proving liability involves gathering evidence to show that:
- You purchased the product from the at-fault party.
- The at-fault party was an authorized seller of the product.
- You became ill or injured while using the product in a reasonable manner.
- The at-fault party manufactured or sold the product without enough warning or instruction.
- The lack of warning or instructions caused your injuries or illness.
- You suffered losses because of your injuries or illness related to the product.
Liable parties may be anyone in the distribution chain, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
Common Defenses Against a Failure To Warn Claim
The opposing party can use a variety of defenses against your failure to warn product liability claim. The two most common defenses against marketing defect claims are unforeseeable use and obvious risk.
- Unforeseeable use: This defense claims that the victim used the product in an unpredictable and unforeseeable way.
- Obvious risk: This defense claims the condition is a recognizable and inherent danger. For instance, you can recognize that a knife is sharp, so you typically cannot sue if you cut yourself with the knife.
How To Win a Failure To Warn Lawsuit
Your case often hinges on your ability to prove that your injury was due to a lack of instruction or warning. Take the following steps to ensure the best chance for a successful lawsuit.
- Confirm grounds to sue. For the best chance of a desirable outcome, you must first ensure you have grounds to sue. A product liability attorney can provide you with a free case evaluation to determine your case’s validity.
- Sue the correct entities. Every step in a product’s supply line is the responsibility of a different organization or entity. Pinpoint all sources of the marketing defect to maximize your potential settlement.
- Document everything. Keep the defective product, along with all instructions, warnings, and other documentation. Likewise, ensure you have copies of medical bills, invoices, and other costs associated with your injury.
- Hire an attorney with experience handling failure-to-warn cases. An experienced attorney will know about industry standards, labeling requirements, and laws about the product. They can also represent you in negotiations and legal proceedings.
- Do not miss legal deadlines. The statute of limitations, or statute of repose, limits your time to file a claim for a strict liability case. Every state’s deadlines are different, so consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. If you miss important deadlines, the courts may dismiss your case altogether.
Although no outcome is guaranteed, these steps can increase the possibility of a favorable legal outcome.
A failure to warn lawsuit seeks damages for injuries from the parties who manufactured, distributed, or sold the defective product. Damages for your injuries may include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
For severe injuries, you could also seek compensation for long-term health issues, disability, and quality of life. An attorney familiar with product defect claims for failure to warn can help you seek compensation for the full value of your losses.
Where Our Law Firm Comes In
When you experience severe injury or illness due to a marketing defect, you should have the chance to recover from your injuries. With a product defect attorney from Dunn Sheehan by your side, you can rest assured that we will handle the legal footwork, so you can take the time you need for recovery.
Contact our team today to discuss your claim in a free, no-obligation consultation. We will help you determine whether you have a case and help you decide on your next steps.