Product Liability: Product Labels Can Be Deceptive

Product Liability: Product Labels Can Be Deceptive

When you think of deceptive product labels, you probably think about food labels in general. There certainly have been plenty of media stories on the news and on reliable internet sources detailing how certain labels attempt to mislead you with words like “all-natural,” “sugar-free” and other claims. In fact, the glut labels that are purposely deceptive have caused a large increase in false advertising claims and litigation regarding label accuracy over the years.

But deceptive product labels aren’t just restricted to food labels. Products of all types may have deceptive or misleading information printed on their labels, and as such, product liability cases, in general, have also increased over the years.

What Is Product Liability?

Product liability refers to an incident in which an individual has suffered some form of harm, been injured or been killed by a product that is unsafe or defective. Typically, a personal injury case of this type in which product liability is called into question bases the case on a manufacturing or design defect. However, a product label containing misleading information (or a lack of important information as well) can be the basis of a product liability claim as well.

As a matter of fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that consumer products claims involving property damage, injury or death cost over $700 billion each year.

This number is staggering when you consider that when you purchase a food or consumer product, you are relying on the information detailed on the food packaging and labels to be true. Several deceptive label laws were enacted to try to stem deceptive labeling, including The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA).

Manufacturer Responsibility

The manufacturer of any product, whether it is a food product or consumer product, has a legal responsibility to properly provide details of the product and warn of any safety hazards a product might pose. This is why you see warning labels on products that are flammable and labels not to use electrical devices such as hair dryers while in the shower.

Although you might think many of the warning labels on various consumer products are common sense, there is always a chance that a label that is lacking sufficient warning information or missing entirely can lead to accidents and personal injury claims. A good example of this is the warning label often found on ladders stating that you shouldn’t step on the very top step of the ladder, as it isn’t safe to do so.

Improper use of a ladder is one of the top causes of ladder accidents. In fact, a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that of those injured in ladder accidents, 73 percent stated that they had not seen or received documentation with safe ladder use instructions. So you can see why product labeling is important and how deceptive labels or product labels lacking important information can be of vital importance to proving a personal injury claim.

False Advertising Claims

Although the bulk of the responsibility lies with the manufacturer to ensure products are labeled honestly and properly, false advertising can also play a role in causing personal injury. Any parties involved in marketing and advertising of a product can be held liable for false claims. This includes marketing and advertising agencies, producers, endorsers of claims on the product label or in advertising materials, and even retailers who make false, deceptive or misleading claims in order to sell a product.

Some of the most misleading claims include those made by food products such as Kashi and Kellogg’s cereals, as well as “healthy” products such as Emergen-C, which all claimed to be healthier than they actually were and used deceptive labeling to fool consumers. While those types of claims may not actually result in any type of personal injury for many, consider those with food allergies who suffered medical injury or death as a result of food products not being labeled properly.

Food companies in particular also have a “duty-to-warn” consumers if chemicals, carcinogens or toxins are present in food items, especially bottled drinking water. Companies who do not sufficiently warn consumers could be facing a liability lawsuit.

Consumer products that also contain harsh chemicals, such as laundry detergents and cleaning products, have a legal responsibility to label the products properly. Failure to do so can lead to injury as a result of exposure to chemicals and toxins. An example is The Honest Company, which failed to disclose on product labels that several of its products contained harsh chemicals that irritated the skin.

We Can Help

We will give your case the personal attention you deserve and strive to obtain the best verdict possible in your product liability case. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury, pain, and suffering, or other undue experience as a result of deceptive product labeling, you may have a case of product liability. Contact the experienced professionals at Colucci Law and request a free consultation. Our attorneys have a great deal of experience handling complex product liability and product labeling cases and can help you receive funds for medical expenses, as well as any other compensation you need and deserve, such as lost wages and future care needs.