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Is a product warning ever insufficient?

We rarely read product warnings when we purchase something from the market, but that does not absolve the manufacturer from their legal obligation of providing warnings to the public even if their product does not have a design flaw and was manufactured properly. A product will still be considered defective when the foreseeable risks posed by the product could have been reduced or avoided by providing reasonable instructions and the omission of those instructions makes the product unsafe. This means that if a manufacturer releases a product without instructions, they could be liable for the injuries that result.

When creating these warnings, the manufacturer has two duties imposed on them-first, he is required to warn consumers of hidden dangers that could be present in the product and second, he is required to instruct consumers on how to use the product so that it is used safely. The warning should be clear and specific and placed in a location that can be easily found. Northern Virginia residents have probably seen those brightly colored stickers that have writing in black block letters. In addition to these requirements, the warnings should be comprehensible, which is why manufacturers have also started adding symbols so that children and non-English speakers can understand what they are being warned against.

Despite popular belief, warnings do not need to accompany every product. They should be present when the product represents a danger, the manufacturer knows about the danger and the danger exists even if the product is used as it reasonably should be used. In addition to this, the danger should not be obvious to someone using the product reasonably. This means that if someone is using a string of tea-lights outside their house and if the lights are prone to overheating if used for more than a certain number of hours, the manufacturer needs to warn consumers of this as the lights could pose a fire risk that the consumer would not have contemplated.

When consumers use their products in the manner they were intended to be used, they do not expect that they could be injured in the process, but unfortunately this does happen when there is insufficient warning. It might be possible to pursue a products liability case against the manufacturer and receive compensation that could cover medical expenses related to an injury.

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