Can A Social Media Influencer Be Liable For Defective Products?

The rise of social media has created a growing market for influencers as advertisers for many different companies. But if an influencer has promoted a defective product, can they be held liable for injury or financial loss you sustained? They may be. To help you identify all the sources from which you may be able to get compensation for injuries, here are some answers to questions about social media influencers and product liability.

Are Influencers Liable for Defects?

Whether it's a hair product that gives you a rash or a suitcase that falls apart at the airport, the extent to which an influencer is liable for defects depends on the circumstances of their promotion. In general, the influencer must have received compensation in return for promoting the product. Simply extolling the virtues of the product without reward from the manufacturer doesn't necessarily make them liable.

Many influencers, though, receive compensation for promotions. While this may be cash payments, the compensation may also be comped products, free trips, a social media sponsorship or collaboration, or cross-promotion. You may need to investigate more to determine if compensation is involved. 

What Do You Have to Prove?

Defective products fall under the category of personal injury. As with most personal injury cases, you generally must prove four key elements. The first is that the person had a duty of care. Then, they must have breached that duty. The breach must have caused injury (financially or otherwise), and that injury must be financially compensable. 

Consider an influencer promoting a makeup line. They have a duty of care toward their customers who rely on their knowledge. If they knew or should have known that the makeup could cause skin damage, they breached that duty of care by promoting it. You would then need to show that the makeup more than likely caused your skin damage rather than other factors. Finally, you might submit treatment expenses and proof of financial loss from the injury. 

What About Strict Product Liability?

There is another way to approach an influencer's product liability: strict product liability. This doctrine does not require that you prove any specific negligence in making the product. If the product causes injury, the manufacturer or others may be held liable in special circumstances. So a social media makeup influencer who has sold many similar products could be liable even if they didn't know of any particular negligence. 

Where Should You Start?

If you think that an influencer has promoted a defective or dangerous product and caused harm to you, start by meeting with a personal injury attorney in your state. With laws constantly evolving to meet the needs of today's market, qualified legal advice is the best investment you can make after an injury. Make an appointment today.  

For more info, contact a local firm like the Law Office of Robert Karwin.