Failure to Warn

Failure to Warn

Personal injury and wrongful death cases may arise out of a failure to warn.  Failure to warn is a concept that applies in product liability cases when industrial equipment, medical device, medication or other consumer product carries certain risks or dangers that are known to the manufacturer but not obvious to the end-user.  The manufacturer who sells consumer goods is liable for compensatory damages for personal injury or wrongful death caused by a product that has hidden dangers when the product manufacturer fails to warn about those hidden dangers.

In addition, when personal injury or wrongful death occurs as a result of latent defects or hazards on-premises, the property owner can be held liable for failing to warn about such dangers.  Examples include fall hazards, vicious dogs, overhead electrical lines, falling objects, explosions occurring as a result of work activities, dangerous chemicals, electricity and negligent failure to heed load limits.

A personal injury or wrongful death lawyer in Cleveland, OH is often called upon to examine warning labels, user manuals, medication warnings and the like, in determining whether a particular warning was adequate to put consumers on notice of a hazard or risk and the potential for personal injury or wrongful death.  Experts, called human factors experts, are trained to examine human behavior in the context of interacting with a variety of products. Often, a warning label is insufficient. In these cases, guarding or other safety features are necessary to prevent injury.  Warning labels can fade or be removed, so safe design and protective measures are often far superior ways to minimize the risk of personal injury or wrongful death.  

In the context of medical malpractice case and medication errors, prescription medicines come with a package insert that sets for the uses of particular medications, drug interactions, contraindications, risks, and benefits.  Some medications that have dangerous side effects come with black box warnings. Frequently, in the early stages of use, pharmaceutical companies downplay or even hide dangers associated with medications. There are many well-documented examples of pharmaceutical companies financing bogus medical studies to support the use of dangerous drugs. Big Pharma is also effective in lobbying doctors to over-prescribe medications. 

In many cases, when a failure to warn is at issue, a personal injury or wrongful death may occur as a result of the actions of other individuals in addition to the dangerous product, drug or premises.  For example, when a physician prescribes medication, they should be aware of risks associated with the medication, including drug interactions, dosage limits, potential complications and patient factors that might affect the clearance rate of the drug.  Likewise, when using equipment in the workplace, often workers are trained by consultants or coworkers in the proper use of equipment. A failure to adequately train and supervise workers using dangerous equipment, and failing to warn about dangers associated with the use of the product, may furnish the basis for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.  

Thanks to Mishkind & Kulwicki for their insight into personal injury claims and failure to warn in product liability.


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