Legal responsibilty

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by FastEddie, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. FastEddie

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Jul 14, 2007
    I only dabble in electronics but some people have asked me to make seemingly simple circuits for them. I have made a couple of simple circuits for myself and have had no problems with them. I would be more than happy to do this for them, but am worried about any responsibility that comes along with doing this. Any experiences or advice?
  2. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    It depends on your friends. It is a legitament concern, you need some way to make them acknowledge that you're projects are "as is".

    You'll note some of the old hands include disclaimers as part of their tag lines. I'm more optimistic or stupid, take your pick, but I've never felt the need.

    Being semi humerous, maybe you could put them in a paper bag with a note, "By opening this bag you exempt the manufacturer from all claims and warrenties, and they shall be held harmless on every contingency". Seems to work for Microsoft.
  3. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
    A general principal (in the UK at least) is

    If you do something for free you are liable for the skill you actually possess and no more.

    If you do something for money you are liable for the skill you ought to possess.
  4. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    The problem in the US vs. other parts of the world is way in which the cost of litigation is handled. It is even called the American Rule. Namely, each side pays its own costs and cannot recover from the other side, except in limited defined circumstances or by prior agreement. Even when recovery of attorney's fees is allowed, the recovery is often a small fraction of the fees actually paid, because the court makes an estimate and is not bound to use actual receipts.

    So, when you get sued, your major concern may not be the risk of losing, but the cost of defending yourself. You better believe there are a lot of attorneys and people who take advantage of that fact.

    As for Good Samaritan laws and the like (as referenced by studiot), the various states vary considerably. If you charge for a service, though, you probably don't have even that protection.


    A bit more than halfway down it discusses the American Rule vs. the English Rule.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2009
  5. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    I have posted some ideas for skin conductance measurement in a forum. You can modify as needed an ask your friends to sign (Laugh)
    but joking aside. The risl level in your applications is very dependent of the amount of energy involved. If you power your application with say 2 9 volt batteries. Your application should be very safe. If your application is a power supply unit connected to the mains. Your application will indeed be a potential risk.
  6. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    Good samaritan act is for emergency aid when nothing esle is
    available to save a life. I don't think property would be covered
    for any reason,unless the property fell on some one and needed
    to be rescued .Maybe a shock would be covered If their heart
  7. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    No it isn't.

    I used the Good Samaritan Laws as an example of beneficence and liability related thereto. So far as I know, if you provide help to someone and they are injured as a result, you can be sued. You might claim, by analogy to the Good Samaritan Laws, some protection because you didn't charge for the advice. It was in that context and only in that context that I mentioned the Good Samaritan laws. NB: In many states, perhaps all states, the Good Samaritan laws do not protect you from being sued. They only give you a defense. You will still have to absorb the cost of that defense in most cases.

    That is why plaintiff lawyers are usually ranked somewhat below rattlesnakes in most opinion polls.

  8. steveb

    Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2008
    I'll tell you what my lawyer always tells me. I'm sure you've heard it before.

    "No good deed goes unpunished."

    It's sad but true. I'm not saying don't do good deeds, although my lawyer would tell you just that. However, I'm saying be prepared and take precautions. And, when the punishment comes, just accept it as the cost of being a good person.
  9. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    You make a good point,was Shakesphere right ? (quick southern english)