Manufacturer sued for confusing safety instructions

warningYou should always follow a manufacturer’s safety instructions. If you get hurt because you didn’t follow the instructions, you might not be able to be compensated for your injuries.

However, you should always talk to a lawyer before you decide that you made a mistake and an accident was your fault. For instance, it might turn out that the instructions weren’t clear enough to protect you.

In one recent Tennessee case, a man named King Bradley bought two new ratchet straps to secure his hunting treestand. He set up the stand, but waited several months to use it for hunting. When he did, he was injured when the straps broke.

Bradley sued the manufacturer of the straps.

The manufacturer had provided a warning that the straps should not be left out “in sunlight or other weather when not in use,” and “must be stored inside when not in use.”

But a federal appeals court said Bradley could sue anyway, because this warning was vague and confusing. For instance, it wasn’t clear whether “use” meant simply having the straps outside to support to stand, or actually using the stand for hunting.

In addition, the manufacturer didn’t say anything about how quickly the straps could deteriorate if they were left outside, or what Bradley should do to check them for wear and tear.