‘Tis the season for gift giving and it’s enjoyed by both gift givers and receivers alike. Many people spend weeks planning and budgeting to buy the perfect gifts for their loved ones, hoping the gifts will bring enjoyment for a long time.
However, sometimes the most popular gifts turn out to be dangerous. The hoverboard craze a few years ago is a perfect example. Every teenager in the country wanted a hoverboard as a holiday present, and the demand was so intense that retailers couldn’t keep them in stock. The problem was, they were dangerous.
Their design naturally led to people falling off and getting hurt, but that was an inherent risk related to the product. The much bigger concern was that some of them caught fire, burned down houses and injured people. If you buy a gift for someone that turns out to be defective, will you have any personal liability for the injuries or property damage that might result?
Gift givers usually don’t have liability for defective products
Giving someone a gift is much like buying an item for yourself. You do so while operating under the assumption that the item is safe for people to possess and use. If the product turns out to be defective, you would typically have no way of knowing that unless you registered the product or regularly check for recalls. Giving a present that turns out to be defective does not result in liability for the person giving the present.
Only in the unusual and unlikely situation where someone knew about a defect and intentionally gave the gift to someone could they face liability, and even in that situation, their intent would be difficult to prove.
The manufacturer of the product will likely be the one with liability
The good news for someone recently injured by a dangerous product or holiday presents is that homeowner’s insurance for the person hosting the get-together or the location where the gift malfunctioned may offer some protection.
It may be necessary when serious losses result from a product failure to file an insurance claim or possibly a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Making sense of product liability rules when you give a defective product as a gift can help you hold the appropriate party accountable.