Did you ever stop to think whether or not you can be held legally liable for a good or service that you have endorsed? Can you actually be dragged into court and sued over a recommendation that you provided online or elsewhere? The answer is yes. It may sound ludicrous, but you can be taken to court over an endorsement you have provided.
What you need to keep in mind though is that everyone seems to be working one angle or another in the litigious societies of today. Spill hot coffee on yourself? Sue the person who sold it to you for damages. Some guy went nuts and flew his plane into the building where your husband worked? Sue the widow for whatever reason you can dream up – logical or not. Your kid got bad grades in school because he wouldn’t pay attention – sue the teacher and school district. It sounds ridiculous, but this actually happens.
In reality, you can be sued for almost anything. You need to be aware of what you put online and cover yourself – always remember that if nothing else. If you promote a product, make sure you have a disclaimer saying that you cannot be held responsible for anyone who doesn’t get the results they feel like they are supposed to. Someone that is dissatisfied will all too often come after you directly and not the manufacturer.
If you give advice that could have legal / medical / whatever ramifications, remind everyone that you are not a doctor / medical professional / what have you, and they take your advice at their own risk. It hasn’t always worked, but
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usually any rational justice sees such suits for what they are and dismisses them.
This is true of websites that provide reviews also. If you contribute some sort of review, you need to make sure that you do not leave yourself open for litigation. There are variables that one could hardly imagine that someone at some time may try to exploit to bring a lawsuit to life. Even recommending a brand of razors or something as trivial as endorsing a music album could lead to some idiot that didn’t agree looking for you to compensate them.
You get the idea of the horrors that could be ahead for the unprotected. Always think ahead. It could make a big difference later. You don’t want to end up on the hook for something you have no control over. It’s not worth the risk. Have a lawyer help you draft or fully draft up a standard disclaimer saying that what you write is only your opinion. Ensure it says that you cannot be held liable for any harm, physical, financial or otherwise, as a result of someone using a service or product as a result of reading your review.
Especially keep this in mind if you give ANY kind of medical advice. – if you tell someone that flax seeds are good for cancer, that is a borderline statement they could interpret it as meaning you are telling them to stop taking their cancer meds and eat flax seeds instead and they will be cured. Weirder things have happened. In cases of medical advice, people providing off the wall opinions with no medical grounds have been sued and lost on a regular basis – there is little compassion for that.
No matter what, when you recommend anything, trivial as it may seem to you, cover your bases. Use disclaimers liberally and always disclosed whether or not you were paid for your opinion.