This case involves a police officer who was severely injured when he was struck in the head by a dart from a taser. At the time of the incident in question, the officer was participating in weapons training with other members of his department. Another member of the police department was using a taser when it accidentally discharged, striking the officer in the back of the head. The officer was rendered unconscious immediately, and was noted to not be breathing for a short period of time. As a result of his injuries the officer now suffers from ongoing headaches and visual disturbances.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience reviewing warning labels, specifically for non-lethal firearms.
- 2. Will you be able to determine whether or not the warning labels were sufficient for this product?
Expert Witness Response E-000942
I have extensive experience designing and evaluating warning labels and manuals. I have reviewed numerous cases involving warning labels and manuals for industrial equipment and consumer products, including medical equipment. I am on several ASTM committees that develop standards for the content of warning labels. I am very familiar with the ANSI standards for labels and warnings. I wrote a chapter in a report for the AAMI on warnings and labels for medical equipment. I can speak to if the labels for the taser meet existing standards, were reasonably placed, and if the labels were tested properly or not. I have significant experience developing and evaluating the testing for labels. A product is determined to be dangerous or not based on hazard evaluation and risk analysis. After the product is deemed dangerous, then the labels can be evaluated on sufficiency to warn. I would be able to review the label and/or manual that accompanies the taser and opine on if they were sufficient enough.
Expert Witness Response E-007536
I have extensive training in warning label research and assessment. I have worked on approximately 100-150 cases to date regarding warning label human factors and provided a detailed assessment for a wide variety of consumer products, including 1 firearm lock assessment case that included firearm testing that I conducted. I also attended the 2016 Human Factors research lecture on a Taser accidental shooting case study. I am familiar with the current version 20 edition of the Taser training warnings and instructions for use. There is no current ASTM standard for taser guns within the F15.73 subcommittee but there is an in-progress standard currently in development. The warning labels for this product have developed significantly over the past few years and the case will depend largely on which edition of the warnings/training documents were in place at the time of the incident. Most cases I have investigated to date on consumer products have focused on whether or not the product is inherently dangerous and whether the product warnings are designed correctly and appropriate for proper use of the product.