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California Products Liability Failure to Warn: When Does a Manufacturer Have To Warn Of A Hazard?

“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S. I want it straight up, with no double talk. I figure do also. I always use plain English, with no sugarcoating no B.S. lawyer talk, and no double talk - just old fashioned, unsweetened, unvarnished truth-just the way that I would want it.” -Bill Turley

Product Liability Attorney Defective Product Lawyer

Failure to Warn Under California Law

One important issue you will probably face in your California defective product case is when does a manufacturer have to warn of a product safety hazard? Under California's strict products liability law, the concern is not with the standard of due care or the reasonableness of a manufacturer's conduct. In this article, a California Product Liability Lawyer explains failure to warn law.

The rules of California strict liability require an injured victim to prove only that the manufacturer, seller, and/or distributor of the defective product did not adequately warn of a particular risk that was known or knowable in light of the generally recognized and prevailing best scientific and medical knowledge available at the time of manufacture and distribution.

Under California product liability law, a manufacturer is liable if it failed to give warning of dangers that were known to the scientific community at the time it manufactured or distributed the product. The actual knowledge of the product manufacturer, even if the manufacturer was reasonably prudent and not at all negligent is not the issue. Instead, under California defective product law, the standard manufacturers are held to is the knowledge and skill of an expert in the field. Product manufacturers, sellers and distributors are obliged to keep abreast of any scientific discoveries and are presumed to know the results of all such advances.

Thus, what the manufacturer knew and when they knew it is not the issue. Instead, they are held to the standard of an expert. The manufacturer, seller and/or product distributor has an obligation to know of all the safety issues and safety concerns associated with the products they manufacture, sell and/or distribute.

California products liability requirement to warn is not limited to unreasonably or unavoidably dangerous products. Rather, directions or warnings are in order where reasonably required to prevent the use of a product from becoming unreasonably dangerous. It is the lack of an adequate warning which renders a product unreasonably dangerous and therefore defective.

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