If a product is dangerous or defective, a warning label might not be enough to keep you safe.

Is a Warning Label Enough?If you look around your house, chances are good that you’ll be able to spot at least a few products with warning labels on them.  Many of them might seem silly, warning you to not do something that you would never do (such as use the hairdryer in the bathtub).  Of course, many of these warning labels arose because people did these “silly” things and got hurt doing it.  But others exist because companies are attempting to avoid liability for their potentially dangerous products.

The idea behind these warning labels is that if they warn about every potential misuse of their product, then it will be your fault if you get hurt using it.  These warnings are also known as disclaimers, and are an attempt by the manufacturer to claim that it is not to blame if someone is injured or becomes ill from using its product.  These disclaimers are often effective because they prevent people from using the product incorrectly.  For example, many paints and chemical solvents have overpowering fumes that could cause people to pass out.  A disclaimer might say that people should only use it in well-ventilated areas. If a person does not use it in a well-ventilated area, then they are probably using it at their own risk.

However, disclaimers do not completely absolve a company of liability for dangerous or defective products, or for liability when a product is used in a reasonable way.  In the paint or chemical solvent example above, if a person had windows opened in a room but didn’t have a fan on, and still passed out from the fumes, that would be a reasonable use of the product — and the disclaimer probably would not function to limit the company’s liability for any resulting injury.  And if the product is so dangerous that it cannot be used safely even if the disclaimer is followed, then that may also be grounds for a lawsuit.  A skilled products liability attorney can help you determine if there is a basis for a similar claim.

It is important to note that if you use a product in an unreasonable way, you will probably not be able to file a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer.  For example, if you climb onto the very top of a ladder so that you can jump off of it, that is likely an unreasonable use of the product — especially because the ladder likely has very clear warnings to not step above a certain rung.

If you have been hurt by a dangerous or defective product, a products liability attorney can help you recover money for your injuries.  A warning label on the product or package does not necessarily mean that you cannot recover for your injuries.  It is just one factor to be considered as part of the whole evaluation of your potential case.

At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, our attorneys are skilled at handling products liability claims on behalf of our clients.  We offer free initial consultations where we will explain your legal rights and options, and we never charge a fee unless we get money for you.  Contact us today to schedule an appointment at 800-333-0000 or