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Failing to read warnings may eliminate a company's liability

You were driving your boat when it suddenly idled. You wanted to check the motor, so you left your seat and looked over the edge of the boat. Noticing that there were weeds tangled in the propeller, you reached in to pull them out. The boat was still on, and the motor kicked back on, cutting your hand and arm. Fortunately, you were able to back away fast enough not to suffer a serious injury, but now you want to file a claim.

You needed stitches and other medical care for the injury, which you believe wouldn't have happened if there were warnings on the boat. Should the manufacturer be held liable?

What it comes down to is whether or not there are safety labels on the boat and boating equipment. If, for example, the motor does not have a safety label, then you may have a case, since it should have one that states to stay away from moving parts. You could potentially have a case if no labels tell you to turn off the boat before clearing the propeller as well.

Safety labels that you don't notice or don't read still protect a company from liability. If it turns out you simply missed a label, you may not be able to seek compensation unless you can show that the label was illegible or in a position where you would never see it.

Your attorney can help you review your case to determine if you have a case against a manufacturer. Safety is important, and as a consumer, you have a right to be protected.

Source: Industry Week, "Failure to Warn vs. Failure to Read: Recent Developments in Product Liability Litigation," Bradley S. Wolff, July 17, 2017

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