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Defending against product liability claims: a look at some legal basics in Ohio, P.3

We’ve been looking in recent posts at the issue of product liability, specifically with respect to manufacture and design defects. Another important type of product defect claim is failure to provide adequate warning or instruction about a product’s risks.

Providing adequate warnings and instructions is important for any product manufacturer avoid liability. Under Ohio law, a product is considered defective due to inadequate warnings and instructions if, at the time the product left the manufacturer, the manufacturer knew or should have known about the risk, yet failed to provide reasonable warning or instruction. 

The reasonableness of any warnings provided is based on the likelihood that the product would cause the type of harm for which the consumer seeks compensation. Manufacturers can also be held liable for failure to warn of product risks after a product goes on the market, which is why businesses are usually quick to issue recalls to consumers.

In cases where products have open and obvious risks or risks, or risks which are common knowledge among the public, no warning or instruction needs to be provided, though manufacturers often do provided warnings for such risks anyway, just to cover their bases.

As we noted last time, companies that produce prescription drugs and medical devices can avoid design liability for unavoidably unsafe formulations and designs by providing adequate warnings and instructions regarding the risks and proper use of the items they manufacture. With respect to the duty to warn, manufacturers meet this duty by providing adequate warnings and instructions to physicians and pharmacists. They do not have to directly warn consumers. The only exception to the latter rule would be when the Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to directly warn patients of the risks.

Next time, we’ll look at a final type of product defect claim, and the importance of working with an experienced attorney when pursuing any product liability claims. 

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