Warning: What Happens When Labels Fail to Warn Consumers

If a company or person sells a product to Florida consumers, Florida laws will impose certain duties on that company or person. Those duties arise out of an an effort to keep Florida consumers safe from danger, negligence, and carelessness that could result in serious accident or injury. Included in those duties is a duty to adequately warn consumers when a product poses a risk to that consumer.

Some consumers may feel that warnings to do not warrant attention, but they may want to think twice about that attitude. Each product warning is there to keep consumers safe. That is why it is important to read and understand the warnings that come with products. But sometimes the warnings are very hard to understand, read, or even see. Other times the warnings are clear, but do not address certain situations that they should. That is where Florida product liability laws come into play.

Florida's Failure to Warn Laws

It is a pillar of Florida personal injury law that companies have a duty to warn consumers if their products are inherently dangerous, or if they have a potential for danger. Such warnings are not necessary when the danger is obvious or generally known. Typically, failure to warn cases will be resolved in one of two ways:

  1. The case is resolved by a judge prior to trial; or
  2. The case is resolved by a jury during a trial.

A judge resolves cases when he or she determines that the warning in question, according to the judge, is accurate, clear, and unambiguous. If the judge determines that the warning fits all of those categories, then a judge must determine whether the warning was effective enough to cause a reasonable person to take measures that mitigate the warned of danger. In the law this is known as the objective standard of review. If the a judge determines that the warning was good enough under this standard, the case would likely be dismissed.

A jury resolves a failure to warn case when the judge determines that the warning was not accurate, clear, or unambiguous. In such a case, the jury would hear facts during trial that would show why the warning was wrong, inadequate, or faulty. Then the jury would make its decision.

Examples of Failure to Warn

A recent case out of Massachusetts puts warning cases into perspective. The Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court upheld a $63 million verdict in a case where a child took children's Motrin, but due to her rare condition suffered terrifying physical consequences. According to the plaintiff who suffered the consequences, the company failed to warn about these potential consequences, and therefore should pay for the damages. The jury agreed, and so did the courts. While this case took place in Massachusetts, a similar result could easily happen in Florida's court system.

Failure to warn cases are important to victims who have suffered horrible injuries due to a defective product. It is even more important to Panama City area victims that they hire an attorney with experience to handle that case. The Pittman Firm has the experience and expertise needed in these kinds of cases.

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