What is an Acceptable Product Warning Label?

Transcript: Hi, I’m Indiana personal injury attorney David Holub. In this video we discuss what the law requires of a product warning label. We all laugh at instructors and warnings that state the obvious. Like… “Only grip the knife by the handle”. Or, the label on a baby cart that says “not intended for highway use.” But we live in a world where warnings and instructions play a critical safety role. Consider medications for a moment. What if there were no instructions about the hazard of driving after you take a medication that makes you drowsy. Without such a warning people could be killed. Here is what the law says about warnings and instructions. The Indiana Product Liability Act provides that a product is defective if the seller fails to: (1) properly package or label the product to give reasonable warnings of danger about the product; or (2) give reasonably complete instructions on proper use of the product; when the seller, by exercising reasonable diligence, could have made such warnings or instructions available to the user or consumer. Evidence of the absence of a warning, in the face of evidence indicating the need for a warning, provides the legal basis upon which to hold a manufacturer or seller of a product liable for harm resulting from the lack of a warning or instruction. But more can be involved. What if an instruction or warning is provided, but it is unclear, or fails to make clear the gravity of a danger? These failings also can be grounds on which to base a lawsuit. The law further requires product makers and sellers to conduct a reasonable safety hazard analysis prior to selling a product, and to assess the severity of anticipated hazards. Frequently, the lack of an adequate product hazard analysis, and delivering to a consumer a product without a warning, makes the product unreasonably dangerous. Lastly, often when there is a warning given, a legal battle ensues over the placement of the warning, such as whether it must be on the product itself, or if it is acceptable to note the warning in a package insert. I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by searching our website or our YouTube page, and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast: Personal Injury Primer.