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A manufacturer's duty to warn consumers about potential harms

When consumers in Montana and elsewhere purchase goods, he or she typically believes that a product is safe if there is no design or manufacturing defect or mistake made. Nonetheless, a product could still be considered dangerous, even if a design flaw did not occur, and it was properly manufactured. A product could be labeled defective due to insufficient warnings or instructions when there are foreseeable risks or harm posed by the product.

A manufacturer has a duty to warn consumers of potential harms and risks, and they have two related duties when creating labels and instructions for a product. First, the manufacturer is required to warn consumers of any hidden dangers that might be present. Second, the manufacturer has the duty to instruct consumers how to use a product in such a manner, so they can avoid any dangers and use the product safely.

If a manufacturer fails to warn consumers about any potential dangers of the product and a consumer is injured by that potential danger, the manufacturer could be held liable for inadequate warning. Similarly, warnings must be clear and specific, conspicuous and placed in a location that can be easily found by a consumer. Failure to do so could be considered insufficient warning, even though a warning label was provided.

Sometimes, companies and manufacturers can choose when to include a warning with their products, however, some products require a warning. This occurs when a product present a danger, the manufacturer knows about the danger, the danger is present even when the product is reasonably used in its intended manner and the danger is not obvious to a reasonable consumer.

If a manufacturer fails to warn consumers about the dangers associated with a product and a consumer is injured, the consumer could file a products liability lawsuit. This could help the injured consumer hold the manufacturer responsible for the harms caused to the consumer, helping them recover compensation for the losses and damages suffered.

Source: Injury.FindLaw.com, "Defects in Warnings," accessed on Feb. 29, 2016

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