A product liability case arises when a person asserts that they were injured while using the merchandise. The injured party may hold a company responsible for damages by filing a claim or lawsuit.
Although many product liability cases involve claims of defective items, a consumer may also take action if they were harmed because the manufacturer did not adequately warn of the dangers associated with using the product. If the notification was absent or unclear, the injured party could seek compensation based on the company’s failure to warn.
Failure to warn cases are strict liability torts (Missouri Revised Statutes § 537.760), meaning the manufacturer need not be proven negligent to be held responsible. However, the company may bring up various defenses to counter the injured party’s claims that a lack of warning caused an accident and injuries.
Product Warning Requirements
Some products are dangerous even when used as intended and can cause physical injury or death.
Examples of these types of products include, but are not limited to:
- Medical devices,
- Car parts,
- Cooking products, and
- Household appliances.
When a company manufactures such items, it must identify potential hazards associated not just with the product’s intended use but also with possible misuse. All conceivable dangers must be adequately communicated, allowing consumers to understand the risks connected to the product.
Warning labels must be included on the product itself and/or contained within the owner’s or instruction manuals. They must be written clearly and concisely so that they are understandable to the average consumer.
If the manufacturer does not adhere to the standards for warning consumers of the dangers of a particular product, it can be exposed to a claim or lawsuit should someone be harmed because of the item. Note that failure to warn cases are not based on the argument that the product itself was faulty. Instead, they are premised on the fact that the company did not notify consumers that the item was reasonably dangerous when used as anticipated.
Building Arguments in a Failure to Warn Case
A company that distributes a product with inadequate warnings can be strictly liable for damages resulting from the use of the item. In other words, the injured party does not have to prove that the manufacturer was at fault or negligent about notifying consumers of possible dangers. The company may be held responsible if it could have foreseen that someone could have been harmed but failed to warn of the risks associated with using the product.
That said, to seek compensation for accident-related expenses and losses, the person bringing the claim must develop and support their assertions that they were harmed because of inadequate warnings.
Generally, that means the injured party must show that:
- The manufacturer was aware of dangers arising from intended or anticipated use,
- The manufacturer was obligated to warn consumers of the hazards;
- The manufacturer failed to include adequate warnings with the product; and
- The lack of warning resulted in an accident causing injury or death.
Crafting a compelling legal strategy requires providing backing for the claims. That means the injured party must present evidence to convince the finder of fact that the manufacturer owes them compensation.
Thus, it’s critical that the individual maintain documentation such as:
- Pictures of the product
- Details about how the item was used
- Description of the incident that led to the injury
- Proofs of purchase
Defenses the Manufacturer Might Raise
Although it might be apparent to the injured party that an inadequate warning caused their accident, the manufacturer and its insurance company might not see it that way. They may counter the individual’s claims to reduce the settlement amount or avoid paying compensation altogether.
Arguments the company may raise include:
- The product was not the cause of the individual’s injury.
- The individual used the product in a way the company could not have anticipated.
- The manufacturer did not have a duty to warn.
Get Help with Your Case
If inadequate warning on a product led to your injuries, you might be entitled to compensation for accident-related losses and expenses. Our Kansas City lawyers can help pursue a claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer or other entities that could be liable for damages. We’ll conduct a thorough investigation and develop a personalized legal strategy on your behalf.
For the counsel you need, call Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. at (888) 398-2277 or submit an online contact form.