Warning Sign Liability

This is something our company has encountered a couple of times now:  There is apparently danger nowadays in posting warning signs.  Apparently, courts and juries are taking the position that by posting any warning at all, you are communicating to the public that you are taking on the task of warning them about any possible danger.  Then, when someone gets hurt by something you did not warn them about, they can argue that you are liable. Via Overlawyered:

Putting up signs warning visitors of the dangerous rip currents off New Jersey's
Long Beach might seem like an obvious step. "However, Long Beach Township
Attorney Richard Shackleton said there are liability issues to consider.
According to the law, the town does not have to warn people about natural
conditions, and if Long Beach put up a sign and a jury found its warnings to be
inadequate, the town could possibly be found liable for a drowning or injury.
Having no signs, he said, reduces the risk of being sued."

We have similarly had our attorneys and/or insurance inspectors recommend we take down a number of warning signs for this reason.  I have no idea how this outcome can be in the public interest.


  1. MaxedOutMama:

    It is the death of common sense.

  2. Mark Horn:

    I don't think it's the death of common sense. I think the requirement that you put a warning sign up for absolutely everything was the death of common sense. Personally, I think that it's ironic that in our overly litigious society, that the purpose of the warning sign in the first place was to prevent liability from failure to warn. Now, we've taken that a step further and failure to warn is back to being a good thing.

    I look forward to the day when I don't need to look at an incessant number of stupid warnings just so that some lawyer can feel good about being employed. And so that our society can act even more like nannied children. To wit:



  3. Scott:

    Thank the lawyers.

  4. Highway:

    I think it's entirely the prospect of some lawyers using the law - their knowledge of it, ability to influence decision makers, and the general impenetrability of the law by ordinary citizens - to enrich themselves. I think common sense is fine, until someone involves a lawyer. Then a whole pandora's box of trouble is opened. And the willingness of the general public to put their own greed before their responsibility as citizens (to not be dumbasses who feed off everyone else) only helps those lawyers who essentially prey on people who are just trying to do their best.