Products carry warnings for good reasons. Florida law requires manufacturers to adequately warn the public about the risks of their products. While many products often have an abundance of warning labels, problems arise when warnings are difficult to read, difficult to understand, or fail to address foreseeable scenarios.
“Failure to warn” falls under products liability law in Florida. Our law holds companies accountable for the products they offer to the public. The duty is theirs to ensure that their products are safe, or if they are not safe, to warn the public of foreseeable dangers, even when the product is misused.
Failure to Warn Under Florida Law
Florida follows other common law jurisdictions by imposing a duty on companies to warn the public when a product is:
- Inherently dangerous; or
- Has the propensity of being dangerous.
Moreover, the warning must do more than simply warn of danger. The warning should be (1) accurate, (2) clear, and (3) unambiguous.
(1) Is the warning accurate?
Suppose a product warning comes with a ten-page manual describing how the product can be dangerous. The quantity and depth of such information can nevertheless be insufficient when the information is proven to be inaccurate. For example, if a dangerous drug is labeled with a warning that it can cause cancer, but fails to mention that it can cause blood clots, then it could constitute an inaccurate warning.
(2) Is the warning clear?
In the great number of warnings that accompany products, words may often be jumbled together in language that is not explicitly clear and understandable. Since users of a product generally have varying reading comprehension skills, a product’s producer must ensure that its warnings are clear enough for a reasonable person to understand.
(3) Is the warning unambiguous?
Adequate warnings cannot merely warn of general danger. It would be extremely easy for companies to say that their product is dangerous, and leave it at that. Consumers need to know the kind of danger they may face when using a product and the type of harm that may result from potential misuse.
Predictable Misuse Or Intended Use Of The Product
Whether the injured person misused the product or used it as intended is a very important question. If the defendant could not predict the misuse of its product (an “unforeseeable misuse”), the defendant may not be held liable. However, if the risks were not obvious, and the defendant could have foreseen the misuse, then the defendant could be held liable.
The Warning Has To Be Conspicuous
Manufacturers are required to place conspicuous warnings on their products. The warnings must be visible.
The Defendant Should Be Knowledgeable Of The Risks Associated with Their Products
Just because a company does not know about the risks, does not mean that it will not be held responsible. Companies are responsible for testing, researching, and investigating their products so that they can understand the risks and warn the public.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by a defective product or a product that lacked appropriate warnings or instructions, Miller Trial Law may be able to get you the compensation that you deserve. Please call us today at (305) 697-8312 for a free, no-risk consultation. We look forward to serving you!