Are Product Liability Disclaimers Effective?

The usual answer to this question is that it is not. There may be several factors that are considered in making sure that these product liability disclaimers are being taken seriously by the courts.

A Bad Disclaimer Violates all Implied Warranties

The implied warranties are usually established by law and legally protected. These are terms that mean that sellers promise buyers that the product is safe and designed well enough to be used in the manner the designer intended. Because these are implied, they need not always be included in contracts of sale and other relevant contracts. The company that made whatever you purchased may still have to pay you damages if it is unsafe.

However, there are companies that will formulate prescriptions so as to reduce their liability from paying too much. An example would be like this:

“No claims, representations or warranties, whether expressed or implied, are made by both our companies as to the safety, reliability, durability and performance of any of our companies’ products. Furthermore, our company accepts no liability whatsoever for the safety, reliability, durability and performance of any of our companies’ products.”

It is usually seen as unfair to customers because there are not always negotiable on the part of the consumers. They only have to accept what is being given to them. Additionally, if companies were allowed to escape liability by simply writing this disclaimer, makers would have less incentive to ensure their products are safe.

However, a seller can remove liability by informing the customer before the purchase that a product must be taken “as-is.” Thus, the buyer should have the opportunity to inspect what is written on the product and to actually pay it.

A Good Liability Disclaimer Restates Warnings that Would Already Be Considered by a Court

There will be times when disclaimers will be formulated like this one:

“In no event shall our company be liable for any direct, indirect, punitive, incidental, special consequential damages, to property or life, whatsoever arising out of or connected with the use or misuse of our products.”

Generally, companies can never be held liable for injuries when it is shown that the users and consumers are the ones who misused the product. For example, if someone drinks antifreeze, they are using the product in a manner that was not intended by the manufacturer, and the manufacturer cannot be liable for any injury that might happen. Thus, where a corporation has an indication of prescription on its label, it is accorded more trust by the court as it was in good faith in informing the public.

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