Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Expert Witness Describes Best Practices when Designing a Warning Label

     By HG.org

Warning labels are crucial for understanding the limits and restrictions of how products and items may be used. Without these items, someone could be injured, and this makes an expert witness important to cases so they are able to explain how the best practices exist and why these are imperative when designing and using warning labels.
When products are placed in the consumer world through shipping and distribution, there are various issues that could cause warning labels to fall off or the instructions to be wiped away. However, most persons are able to find the instructions and different warnings online or through the phone numbers provided on the bottle, can or other container. When a problem occurs and someone has been harmed or a company needs assistance in a case, an expert witness is often hired to help associate evidence, clear up certain matters and connect the proof in the claim to someone that is liable.

Warning labels could be on anything from consumables to vehicles. This depends on the design, the materials and if any dangerous components exist. When the item is larger or could affect multiple individuals, the warning labels could be more important than if only a single person may be injured. However, no matter how large or small the claim, an expert witness should be hired to assist the judge or jury understand how warning labels are designed, whey they are needed and the best practices in implementing and creating them. Many of these factors depend on the type of product and how large the warning label must be.

The Need for Warning Labels

When a product is possibly dangerous when not used properly, a warning label usually explains this through certain details. This means that the information on the box, bottle, jar or other container generally details what to avoid and how to appropriately apply a product, consume, keep out of specific locations and what temperatures are best. If the item is a consumable, it may explain how the edible is best eaten or when it may expire. For tools, these labels warn of what could lead to injury such as when the equipment is used improperly. Some fluids, liquids and powders have explicit warnings that they should not be consumed under any circumstances, and there may even be an emergency number to call if this does occur.

Some products may have standard usage, but the warnings explain what could go wrong when placed near other objects, water or flammables. If this is an item such as a curling iron, toaster or other electronic, the label usually describes avoidance to water or the person could be electrocuted. A label is issued based on what could happen when the directions are not followed, or if the consumer has attempted certain actions previously. This then means that customers have performed these acts before, and the warning label was created to prevent further misuse. To prevent liability and as a precaution against injury, warning labels have been attached to most products.

Best Practices Explained for Warning Labels

For the best practices to be fully known, the person may needs to research different methods. However, some of these are clear. Most labels need a clear location and with defined warning language. The consequences of going against the warning should be detailed on the label. There are also steps in how to avoid the warning that is listed. This could include items of keeping the bottle away from water, temperatures greater than standard 70 degrees and similar concerns. Certain words are generally placed within warnings such as danger, hazard and consequence. If the product could cause injury when not used in standard practices, this may be clearly printed.

The expert witness is able to explain to the judge or jury how these labels are usually clearly expressed with bright colors and important and noticeable wording. These best practices are in place to ensure the consumer is aware of the dangers of using the item inappropriately. Detailing these methods to the courtroom, the expert witness may be able to connect the incident with the defending company when the labels are inconspicuous or when the instructions are unclear. This is often when injuries are caused. Through showing the jury panel how a standard warning label should look with the focus words and easy to find steps, he or she may assist in proving that the incident could have been avoided through better practices in label warnings.

Copyright HG.org


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

Find an Expert Witness