I'm going to be selling a giant tumbling towers game via eBay, an eCommerce website and through a trivia company that wants to install them into bars. Essentially it's like Jenga but of course we cannot market it with the Jenga name. When the game begins the set is around 3 feet high and gets up to about 6-7 feet high at it's maximum sustainable height. The overall set weighs about 50lbs. So I've noticed of course that someone, who possibly had too much to drink or is too young to be playing, could injure themselves through improper use. So I'm wondering what type of liability protection do I need for myself? Would a disclaimer on the site and a printed disclaimer sent with each order suffice? Or do I need something written and signed from each customer?
As Mr. Brinkmeier suggests, you certainly need to discuss this with your commercial insurer and your attorney. The following information will get you started in thinking along the right lines, but it is FAR from complete. To begin with, you will need to assess all possible ways in which a person might be injured by this product, however far fetched they seem and whether or not the person was using the product as you intended him or her to use it. You will need clear disclaimers on the product packaging and maybe the product itself. On the website, you should ideally have a click-wrap agreement. When selling through eBay, you will need to make your T&Cs very clear. These things will help, but they will not protect you entirely. You will also want to make sure that your business entity is properly set up so as to limit your personal liability to the greatest extent possible. In Georgia, there are several ways for a plaintiff to approach a products liability claim, and manufacturers can be liable under strict liability as well as negligence theories. Understanding these and what you can do to best warn your customers of potential dangers and minimize the risk of claims is certainly something that warrants your seeking a good business attorney and spending a little time and money up front to assess and mitigate the risk. Also, remember that the first line of defense is always your insurance policy (your business attorney should be able to give you a referral for a products liability insurance representative), so look for quality of coverage rather than the lowest price on this.
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Your insurer at the underwriting stage will conduct a review and the risk assessment portion you must familiarize yourself with. A skilled business attorney would know this inside out. I suggest you hire one now, not later. Now is when you need legal skill.
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