Warning!! Are you Reading those Labels?
Tampa parents buy a “hover board” for their teenager, and within a week, the device causes a fire that almost burns the house down. The young operator did nothing incorrectly. The device has a defect that made it prone to erupting in flames. Isn’t the manufacturer liable for damages?
Across town, a family’s housecleaning grandmother decides to pour the contents of two apparently identical cleanser bottles into an empty container. Grandma suffers severe chemical burns as a result of this seemingly practical move. Who is responsible for her accident and injuries?
While these nightmares are occurring, up in Vermont a cousin is operating a snow blower when its blades become clogged. Just as the instructions indicate, he turns off the blower’s motor, waits a minute, then tries to unclog the blower blades with his bare hand. Emergency room doctors have to amputate three of his fingers. Who is to blame for this tragedy?
Thankfully, these are hypothetical cases, but for this fictional family, the pain and suffering may be far from over. The extended family could be looking at the prospect of extensive medical care, loss of employment, and even the need for new housing, in addition to other expenses. No one in the scenarios described above was being deliberately negligent. But at least two of them could argue that they have grounds for potential legal action based on failure to warn. This terminology refers to a manufacturer’s failure to provide adequate warnings or guidance about the product’s correct usage. Laws in this area can and do change – sometimes offering more legal protection to accident victims and at other times to offending manufacturers – which makes the criteria for determining true “failure to warn” negligence, on the manufacturer’s part, often difficult to ascertain and understand. This is why legal counsel is particularly recommended in such cases.
All product users have a responsibility to read warning labels, follow instructions, and use products correctly. But manufacturers have responsibilities as well. When manufacturers fail to adequately warn of dangers inherent in uses that are reasonably foreseeable,the right attorney can help clients seek and recover the compensation – and justice — they deserve.