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Am I to be held liable for if anyone injures themselves building or using something from my instructable? Answered

-would I have to go to court?
-does instructables protect me from these problems?
-is there anything else I should be concerned about?
-do I have to put any non-liability stuff on my instructable?


I Am Not A Lawyer. This is not a legal opinion, only my own best understanding.

You can ALWAYS be sued, for anything, and "hauled into court" if you can't get it dismissed or settled. That's the nature of our legal system. The real question is would they be likely to win, and would you be able to recover the money you lose in defending yourself.

I doubt Instructables would do anything to protect you. I doubt they COULD do anything to protect you, outside of rejecting submissions they feel are obviously completely unreasonable.

Disclaimers, unless written by a lawyer, may not do any good at all. And even then, see the first point above.

Personal conclusion: There's a lot of stuff already on I'bles which is of debatable safety, but that doesn't mean you won't wind up being the first one who gets sued. Is the ego-boo of sharing (and, yes, showing off) worth the risk? Different people pick different trade-off points. If you're concerned enough about a particular project to ask, you might not want to post it on Instructables.

In the end, you're responsible for your own words. What do you want to say, where do you want to say it, and are you willing to stand behind it if necessary?

Add a disclaimer and warnings, It should help you not get in trouble.

Not a lawyer:

If you tell someone explicitly to do something that is going to be dangerous to them then I guess you could be held responsible example: Heat up the steel bar and grab it by the red end (DON'T DO THIS!) makes you responsible for stupid activities.

HOWEVER there is no way you can cater for all contingencies and there has to be some personal responsibility applied. In general I try to cover the obvious and have lost count of the times I have warned about electricity.

I try to make my project safe no matter what - That's why I don't post weapons (yes I can and have made all sorts but I know how to be careful and responsible) - I don't often do mains powered things. I don't do pyrotechnics and bombs.


7 years ago

Since all accounts on instructables are aliases it would be difficult to trace someone back without the sites cooperation (unless you are putting way to much private info in your profile). Often publishers take a stand of protecting the authors by not disclosing their sources. It would probably be necessary for any suing party to get a subpoena to require the sites cooperation. This kind of thing is still under change as the laws are developing.
However all that aside it would be difficult to actually prove that somebody got hurt by executing the instructions you post for something. Who knows where they may have gotten them, there are many other sources. It would be a very costly process and hard to prove so most lawyers would probably refuse the case. And included in all this is age, mental condition, accountability, previous knowledge of dangerous practices and on and on.
Finally what are they going to sue for? If you have nothing in terms of resources then what is the point? If you were a big corporation or a celebrity then they would come after you for sure. But the contents of a kids piggy bank is not worth a lawyers consideration.

All that being said it is a common courtesy to tell someone if something might be dangerous or potential harmful to them. Its the instructables thing to do.

The Instructables site does not indemnify you. Read the Terms of Service.

Liability disclaimers are not generally enforceable, unless you can show that you explained the hazards involved clearly and completely, and the end user ignored those explanations.

If you choose to knowingly post something dangerous, and don't even have the decency the even mention that it could be dangerous, then you are choosing to accept the consequences in our litigous society.

In our litigious society, it wouldnt hurt to put in some warnings...

Do you have to? not sure. Should you? If there's a probability that someone will be hurt by its misuse or during construction and you are aware of the underlying problem or danger that causes that harm, you *should make people aware.