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How does saying you are not liable make you not liable? Answered

A whole bunch of instructables want to go out of their way to say "I'm not liable". Is that all there is to legal liability, just say you're not liable and that makes you not liable? Or is that just sort of a 'hocus pocus don't sue me', no legal ramifications whatsoever?


Really, it's just a bit of self-assurance for the author, and a reminder to the reader to be careful. If you're using it when in direct communication with somebody, verbally or in writing, and you make a suggestion that the other person follows and suffers harm, then you may be "liable", that is, having to take legal responsibility for the consequences of your suggestion.

However, if you give a clear warning that your suggestion may not work, then the responsibility lies with the person who follows your instruction.

For an instructable, even if you do not say so in your project, neither the author nor the site are liable for any harm or damage done by following an instructable - it is made clear in the terms of service (which apply to casual readers as much to members and authors) that the onus for safety lies with the person following the instructable, not the person who wrote it.

"Not liable" is a term often used when someone has a chance to loose a law suit of some kind.

Take data recovery software, it always states the developers or the company selling it is not liable for any losses of data or damage to the drive in question.

In the right context it quite often states that by using something you acknowledge the possible risks and won't seek compensation if something goes wrong.

Best example are those topics about homemade rocket fuel, smoke boms and similar stuff.

Done wrong and you blow your hands off (if you are lucky) or burn your house down, so the author states the possible danger and warns you to not do it unless you are aware of the dangers and risks.

Since common sense can be applied to most topics you won't find too many warning labels on kitchen knifes or screwdrivers.

Howver on plastic bags and lighters you can find them - not because they are more dangerous but because someone found a penguin that managed to squeeze a few million out of a company for an accident.

That is why the big burger chain only sells warm coffee now, someone burned their private parts and successfully sued for compensation.

Fries are no longer brown because they could cause cancer and other health problems.

Saying you are not liable is useless in todays times as a lawyer simply states "Without the knowledge given by you it would not have happened!"

It also differs from country to country and on the topic in question.

Or do you give out a warning in your Ibles that using sissors could cause injury? ;)

In a hard case one might argue you did not warn about the dangers of cutting the paper and tries to make you pay ;)

"not liable" is a polite way of saying " this information is not intended as advice for, or use by, morons"


3 years ago

You can say anything, and anyone can sue you about anything, then a judge will decide. It used to be you could set up a corporation to protect yourself from personal lawsuit. THAT IS NOT TRUE ANYMORE a judge can pierce the corporate vale if it is clear that you only used it to avoid a lawsuit.

""then a judge will decide""


it's not what happened, it's what you can prove !

As you so Nicely put it, it's just "Hocus pocus don't sue me!"

To be fair, there is a bit of a Gray Zone.

**You need to show that you have acknowledged the Risks and have, Hopefully, made your best attempt to warn readers of the danger. Even steering them away if the don't have the Prerequisite Skills & Safety Equip**

If your not making money it's not likely you'll be sued.

But hey, if a really good lawyer can sue a multi-national Corporation for serving hot coffee that it too hot is there really any guarantee?