The Importance of Labeling

Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 in Personal Injury, Product Liability | 1 comment

It seems silly to put a “may contain nuts” disclaimer on a bag of Peanut M&M’s, or a “may contain eggs” label on a carton of eggs, but product liability cases have everything to do with these painfully obvious labels. When the average product liability award is around $1.9 million, manufacturers go to frivolous lengths to protect both themselves and their customers.

Product liability involves two principles. The first is that companies have a duty of care not to put their customers in unforeseen danger. Secondly, companies have to provide an adequate warning of foreseeable danger. Of course, costumers have to act reasonably when using a service or product. According to the website of the product liability lawyers of Spiros Law, P.C., a product may be safe if used for its intended purpose, but it is potentially dangerous if used in another way. This is why products are required to have a clear and concise warning about these dangers.

Not all labels are as laughable as a chainsaw’s warning not to “hold the wrong end.” For example, all drugs approved by the FDA are extensively reviewed so that the label has the correct information about side effects and dosage. In a case before the Supreme Court, a woman claimed that she lost an arm to gangrene because of the drug Phenergan. The drug was used to relieve nausea, but the label only contained risks about using the drug in one certain way. The argument was that the label should have warned about using the drug in other ways if the risk of danger was so high. It is entirely ridiculous for a consumer to have to risk losing an arm just to cure an upset stomach, which is exactly why proper labeling is so important.

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