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Liability And Gifts: Is Compensation From Gift Mishaps A Thing?


Holidays and birthdays are a time of giving and receiving, with families coming together to enjoy the holidays together and to spread goodwill and cheer. But not every holiday or event is equally happy: not every family gets along, and every now and then a gift can turn out to be more of a curse. But if you get an injury from gift, who is liable for the damage? Who is responsible, and who should get money from the settlement?

Gift Ownership

The first thing to understand is that, if you give a gift to another person, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. The person you give it to owns the product, and if they get injured by it they can sue the manufacturer directly. However, as a gift giver, you may still have a part to play because your purchase receipt is part of a paper trail that proves the person you gave it to owns the product. Throwing away the receipt won’t ruin a case, but it may impact the final settlement.

Gift Responsibility

Products usually come with warning labels, especially when it comes to products made for kids. They come with recommended ages and warnings like “choking hazard.” These warnings don’t always mean the manufacturer can escape liability, but it does mean the owner has to accept the responsibility to read the labels and decide whether or not their child can use the product.

Gift givers also take on some of this responsibility. A child’s parents should still look at the packaging of all the products their kids get for Christmas, birthdays, hanukkah and other times, but if a family friend or relative gives a child a gift the parents might reasonably assume the giver has checked whether the product is appropriate. Making a mistake may open the giver to a negligence claim.

It’s not all about the kids, either. Some products and activities are inherently dangerous, and people need training to use or perform them. You can’t drive a car without a license, and so it’s irresponsible to give one to a person who doesn’t at least have a learner’s permit. The person who uses the product without training would be the most responsible for any injuries, but they may be able to make a case that the gift giver encouraged and enabled them.

Gifts Made From Kits

The term “manufacturer” loses some of its meaning when the product is something you have to assemble yourself from a kit or assorted parts. If you buy an office chair, assemble the chair yourself, and then give the assembled chair to someone else for Christmas, then who’s responsible for personal injuries if the chair falls apart under the new owner’s weight?

That’s not an easy question because the answer could be anyone or everyone involved. It could be the manufacturer’s fault because the product has a defect that makes it fail. It could be the assembler’s fault because the assembler made a mistake or didn’t follow the directions. It could be the manufacturer’s fault for not providing the right directions. It could be the owner’s fault for using the product the wrong way. It could even be the fault of the store that sold the product if it got damaged while in their care.

Because liability can be such a tricky issue, it helps to have a professional legal team on your side. And that’s just what we offer here at , Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh. When residents of southwest Florida need legal assistance for personal injuries and traffic accidents, they can count on us to get them the best settlement possible or go to trial if that’s what it takes to get fair compensation.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Liability And Gifts: Is Compensation From Gift Mishaps A Thing?

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh




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