Failure-to-Warn Claims Under Florida Product Liability Law

Ideally, all products would be safe; however, the reality is that society has a need for products that can be very dangerous. For example, it would seemingly be impossible to manufacture a safe chainsaw. But the mere fact that society has a need for a product that is inherently dangerous does not absolve the manufacturer of that product from the responsibility of providing an adequate warning.

Warnings are important, even on products society recognizes as dangerous. A proper warning will inform users of the appropriate way to use the product, the potentially avoidable dangers involved when the product is used for its intended purpose, as well as what can occur if the warning is not followed. Additionally, manufacturers should warn users against foreseeable misuses of the product. A manufacturer’s failure to provide an adequate warning on their product may be the basis of a Florida failure-to-warn claim.

A recent federal appellate court issued a written opinion in which the court discussed the plaintiff’s failure-to-warn claim.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a crane operator, and was working to move a very large object with several other cranes in a tandem lift. The lift began as planned; however, part way through the left the plaintiff’s crane unexpectedly separated from a colleague’s crane, causing the plaintiff’s crane to tilt forward.

As the crane tilted, it shifted forward on its tracks. This caused the stack of counterweights behind the crane to lean, and one of the 18,000-pound counterweights fell on top of the operator’s cabin of the crane. The plaintiff was ejected from the crane and fell to the ground eight feet below. The plaintiff suffered serious and irreversible injuries as a result of the accident, and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the crane manufacturer. The jury returned a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor, and the manufacturer appealed.

On appeal, the manufacturer argued that the jury was presented with insufficient evidence to find that the included warning was inadequate. The relevant portion of the warning stated that the crane should be used on level surfaces only, and that failure to follow the warning may result in serious injury or death.

The court held that this warning was not legally sufficient, explaining that the warning should have specifically mentioned the possibility of the counterweights shifting and sliding off their stacks, and potentially landing on the operator’s cabin. Because the manufacturer’s included warning was not specific to the risks that ultimately caused the plaintiff’s injury, the court found the warning to be inadequate. Thus, the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff was upheld.

Have You Been Injured by a Dangerous Product?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured by a dangerous or defective product, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a South Florida product liability claim. Manufacturers generally have a duty to create safe products, and must warn users of inherent risks that may not be obvious. The dedicated South Florida injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience litigating Florida failure-to-warn claims, and understand what it takes to succeed on their clients’ behalf. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Claims Against Government Employees and Agencies Must Comply with the Requirements of the FTCA, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 31, 2018.

Jury Holds Railroad Company Liable for Fatal Train Accident, Court Upholds $10.4 Million Verdict, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published August 8, 2018.


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