Let's say Bob publishes an analysis of suicide methods meant to assist those so inclined. Alice takes Bob at his authoritative word and follows his advice to the letter regarding the method he deems as the most foolproof. However, it fails to take, and Alice winds up with serious injuries and a permanent disability. She seeks to sue Bob for his dangerous (or rather, not-dangerous-enough) advice. Would she be likely to win such a lawsuit? Does the suffering of injury when you were seeking death constitute an adverse outcome, legally speaking? Say the lawsuit was to take place in the US, for concreteness.

Moreover, would it affect the lawsuit if it came to light that Bob knowingly published falsehoods and incorrect advice, as a last-ditch effort to spare the lives of would-be suicide victims like Alice? It can be assumed that Bob had sufficient exhortations to seek professional help at the start of his publication.

  • 3
    I won't post this as an answer as it appears to be off-topic, but encouraging or assisting suicide is a criminal offence in E&W, with a maximum sentence of 14 years' imprisonment under the Suicide Act 1961
    – user35069
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 9:13
  • Does the suffering of injury when you were seeking death constitute an adverse outcome, legally speaking Alice’s suicidal behavior does not make her incapable of suffering injury. If Bob’s method was "send me a $1000 check and I will use magical powers to make you die painlessly within a day", Bob is probably on the hook for fraud. (Not an answer, because Bob-the-mystic-for-hire is a very different situation from Bob-the-bookwriter as to whether Bob is responsible for what Alice does.)
    – KFK
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 11:19
  • under what liability idea does she try to get the author?!
    – Trish
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 17:06
  • @Trish Presumably under the same liability that Bob would have if he were to give faulty advice leading to injury in any other context. Though, some further searching on the subject leads me to believe that such lawsuits are a longshot when the advice is not given in an individual and professional context.
    – Feryll
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 19:52
  • @Feryll which is exactly what I was indicating to.
    – Trish
    Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 20:03


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