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Why are instructions and warning labels so important?

Many people in New York may joke about not reading the instructions before attempting to assemble or use a product. It may also seem amusing when there are directions for a product that has an apparently simple use. However, anything a manufacturer provides you regarding product safety should be taken seriously. If the product injures you in any way, whether the company is liable could come down to the warnings it provided and whether you paid attention to them.

FindLaw states that there should be a warning on the package or product if it could create a hazard when you use it as intended, and the manufacturer knows this, but the danger is not obvious to you as a reasonable consumer. The warning should include details about the proper way to use the product safely, as well as any hidden dangers that may arise from that intended use. For a warning to be effective, it must use language, illustrations or both that are easily understood. 

Some of these requirements may seem vague. For example, a judge or jury may agree that it is difficult to determine if you were being reasonable in your use of the product when you were injured. Likewise, it may not be straightforward to decide what constitutes "obvious." If there is a question about whether the product is safe to use without the instructions, a lack of appropriate warning may result in manufacturer liability. 

This information about product warning labels is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

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