Basic Common Law Duty
Difference between Warnings and Instructions
Determining Risk and Whether to Warn
Adequacy of Warnings – Common Law, Regulations and Standards
Who do you have to warn?
Other safety communications
This area of products liability law is dangerous because it is so easy for a plaintiff to argue that the manufacturer should have added a few more words and the accident would not have happened. As a result, creating new warnings and instructions (or updating your current warnings and instructions) should not be done without first obtaining assistance from legal counsel, engineers, and label suppliers that know how to design and produce labels and manuals that comply with any applicable laws and standards. Once the labels and manuals have been developed correctly, it is comparatively easier to update or modify them in the future.
Complying with the duty to warn and instruct in the United States and in foreign countries is not easy. The manufacturer must seriously undertake an effort to do so, both for the safety of the users and to enhance the ability to sell the product both here and abroad. This article and the previous article on design defects touched on the most important aspects of this duty. But it only scratched the surface and was intended for people to understand how difficult this area of products liability law can be.
Kenneth Ross is Of Counsel to the Minneapolis office of Bowman and Brooke LLP where he practices in the areas of product safety and liability prevention and advises manufacturers, product sellers and insurers on ways to identify, evaluate and minimize the risk of products liability and contractual liability. These guides do not constitute legal advice and are very general. You should consult competent legal counsel or Medmarc Loss Control before acting on any of the information in these guides.
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Medmarc is a part of ProAssurance Group, a family of specialty liability insurance companies. The product material is for informational purposes only. In the event any of the information presented conflicts with the terms and conditions of any policy of insurance offered from ProAssurance, its subsidiaries, and its affiliates, the terms and conditions of the actual policy will apply.
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