Have you ever noticed the little warning labels attached to consumer products? Product warnings accompany most, if not all, consumer products. Their purposes are two-fold and failure to warn against accident or misuse could mean a manufacturer is responsible for the resulting injury.
Manufacturers have a duty to their consumers to warn them against hidden dangers that may be present in a product. They are also utilized to instruct users how to use a product so that the users can avoid any dangers and use the product safely. If a manufacturer fails to do this they can be found liable for any injuries sustained in the accident.
An item warning should be clear and specific. It should also be placed in a location that the user can easily find. For example, many warning stickers are typically bright colors like orange, red or yellow, and have warnings and brief instructions written in large, easy to read letters, in clear or plain language. The goal of the warning is to ensure that every consumer can easily and quickly read and understand the inherent dangers. If a warning does not meet these or similar qualifications, the warning may not be written or placed correctly, which could cause personal injury.
If you believe a consumer product has insufficient warnings which resulted in your own or a loved one’s injury, it might be appropriate to pursue a products liability case. These situations can cause a lot of turmoil and upheaval in people’s lives. Those who are responsible can be held accountable.
Packaging can play a role in injury from unsafe products
Certain consumer products may include dangerous components or materials that pose exceptional risks to particular groups of people. Prescription medication, for example, can be deadly if the wrong person accidentally consumes the medication. Products like these are usually packaged in special containers that are not easy to open, and that have conspicuous warning labels.
A study that was recently published in a journal called Pediatrics details the data about the potential dangers of laundry-detergent and dishwasher packets. The packets, or pods, contain concentrated liquid detergent that can cause serious health problems if people ingest it. While adults should know that they must heed the warnings on the packages and not eat the pods, children may not have the same understanding. To make matters worse, some of these pods are packaged in a way that makes them look like candy or toys.
The study showed that in 2013 and 2014, poison control centers throughout the U.S. received tens of thousands of telephone calls about children under the age of six who had been affected by exposure to the detergent pods. The author of the study, who is a research and policy director at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, called on product manufacturers to make the packaging for the pods safer for children.
As this case shows, unsafe products aren’t always a product of a manufacturing or design defect of the product itself. Sometimes the safety issue is a result of insufficient warnings or improper packaging. Here, some of the manufacturers at issue have attempted to make the detergent pods safer by using different packaging and by coating the pods with a bitter-tasting substance. But for some people, the changes are too little and too late; at least two deaths and a number of life-threatening poisonings resulted from the detergent packages in prior years.
Injury or death from defective products can occur through a variety of different circumstances. People in Orange County who have suffered injuries from a dangerous product can pursue legal claims against the relevant parties.
When Inadequate warnings cause injuries
It is not uncommon for a California resident to find on the package or instructions of their new product purchase a list of warnings about how to use, or not to use, their new item. Warnings may advise consumers to only use products under certain conditions or to only operate them in the manner that the manufacturers intended. Sufficient warnings may generally keep individuals safe, while inadequate warnings may introduce individuals to product-based injuries.
When a product hurts a victim he or she may take legal action based on products liability law. This area of the law aims to hold manufacturers, designers, and others in the chain of commerce liable for the deficient and dangerous products that they put on the market. Products can be dangerous based on their designs, how they are constructed, as well how they are presented to consumers through warnings and labeling.
A product must generally provide a consumer with warnings about the dangers that may be hidden in its design or hazards that may present when the product is improperly used. To this end, warnings and instructions must be sufficient on consumer goods so that individuals can educate themselves on how best and most safely they can use their purchases. Not all products may be required to have the same types and levels of warnings. Whether a warning is sufficient may depend on the product’s intended use.
Victims of product-based injuries can take legal action to seek recovery of their damages, including but not limited to their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The support of a personal injury attorney can be important to those who are fighting to recover what they lost from dangerous product accidents.
The Wall Street Journal, “Laundry Pods More Dangerous to Children Than Other Detergents, Study Finds,” Sharon Terlep, April 25, 2016
injury.findlaw.com, “Defects in Warnings,” Accessed March 27, 2017