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I often help people out on different stack exchange websites and never have any issues whatsoever. I usually answer questions on the Apple stack exchange website.

I was wondering, if I give out incorrect advice and someone damages their computer or device more, can I be liable in anyway for those damages? I'm not that familiar with the law, so I though I would ask before I answer certain questions, that I'm not 100% sure on.

I understand if they don't follow the advice I'm not liable, but if they willingly follow my advice themselves and if my advice was slightly incorrect, causing more damage, could they attempt to sue me for the damage it causes?

  • Are you looking for advice? – Mark Rosenblitt-Janssen Nov 15 '17 at 3:20
  • @MarkRosenblitt-Janssen Yep, some advice would be great! – Matthew N Nov 15 '17 at 3:29
  • @MatthewN Specific legal advice is off-topic here; see the sidebar. – BlueDogRanch Nov 15 '17 at 3:33
  • There's no implied contract since no money or guarantee was made, so the only other issue is whether there is some "reasonable expectation" of responsibility and my understanding of the Terms of Use (which I have not read fully), is NO. – Mark Rosenblitt-Janssen Nov 15 '17 at 3:34
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This is all outlined at Terms of Service - Stack Exchange

When you ask a question, and/or comment on or answer a question, or otherwise participate on an SE site, you license your content to SE.

You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

In turn, (emphasis mine)

Subscriber acknowledges that Stack Exchange has no control over, and no duty to take any action regarding: which users gains access to the Network; which Content Subscriber accesses via the Network; what effects the Content may have on Subscriber; how Subscriber may interpret or use the Content; or what actions Subscriber may take as a result of having been exposed to the Content. Much of the Content of the Network is provided by and is the responsibility of the user or subscriber who posted the Content. Stack Exchange does not monitor the Content of the Network and takes no responsibility for such Content. Subscriber releases Stack Exchange from all liability for Subscriber having acquired or not acquired Content through the Network. ...

This doesn't mean someone can't sue you anyway, notwithstanding that disclaimer. Anyone can sue anyone in civil court. That's the way the system works.

Someone could track you down and sue you for the (bad) advice you gave that cooked their Macbook, even though they got that advice on SE and SE states that SE is not responsible for any damages resulting from the use of the information. The TOS of all SE site(s) shows that anyone who uses SE sites is bound by this click-through agreement, even if they didn't read it.

And that should suffice in a court if it gets that far. It should suffice for any attorney thinking of taking the case of someone who wants to sue you. Again, someone could sue you; but chances are really great that it will never go very far due to the legal nature of SE and your contributions.

This SE site - Law SE - has more of a specialized TOS, as practicing law without a license is illegal, and giving legal information as a layperson (or even as an attorney, of which there are some who particpiate here) needs special terms; see the sidebar for this disclaimer and link:

Law Stack Exchange is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized advice from a qualified legal practitioner. Communications on Law Stack Exchange are not privileged communications and do not create an attorney-client relationship. General Disclaimer - Law Stack Exchange

So, if you do get sued by someone who cooked their Macbook by following your bad advice, you can ask about the lawsuit here on Law SE. But, unless your question is about general legal procedures, terms, case law, etc. (as outlined at What topics can I ask about here? - Law SE), your question will be closed because this site is not for giving specific legal advice in specific legal situations, especially active lawsuits. You will be advised to talk to an attorney.

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