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Can You Sue a Social Media Influencer Over a Defective Product?

Holding Influencers Liable for Endorsing Defective Products

With 65% of influencer marketing budgets set to increase in 2020, it's no surprise that more and more companies are starting to pay popular social media users to sell products to their followers. However, the increase in social media marketing means that there are more and more defective products being marketed through influencers. Keep reading to find out if you have any legal recourse when an Instagram celebrity or YouTube star convinces you to buy a faulty product.

Can You Sue Influencers for Supporting a Defective Product?

The stories of people who have been harmed by faulty influencer recommendations are almost endless. From conditioners that make hair fall out to sporting gear that causes major accidents, there have been all sorts of problems with influencers telling their followers to buy dangerous items. Many influencers neglect to thoroughly vet products before promoting them on their channels. Whether or not you can sue the influencer essentially boils down to the influencer's relationship to the company selling the product. In cases where the influencer has displayed or recommended a faulty product without getting any compensation from the involved company, you usually cannot sue them. If the influencer has officially endorsed the product, then they have entered into a trade practice and opened themselves up to product liability. A social media user is legally endorsing an item if they are getting compensation to discuss or display a product for the purpose of encouraging others to use it. This can be in the form of monetary payment or free products. In these cases, you may be able to sue the influencer, their incorporated brand, or the product manufacturer.

How Will Pennsylvania Liability Laws Affect Your Case?

Product liability tends to be a very complex area of the law. Therefore, it's wise to learn a little about the subject and make sure you have a case before proceeding with your social media lawsuit. One of the first requirements will be that you need to prove harm occurred due to the influencer's actions. This may be the amount of money you purchased the faulty product for, the cost of any medical bills associated with fixing injuries the product caused, pain and suffering, or emotional trauma. Pennsylvania has a few different reasons you can sue someone for a defective product. The first, negligence, may occur if the influencer is aware of the issue or does not properly vet the product, yet they still advertise it. Another common type of Pennsylvania product liability law you may be able to use is strict liability, which states that if a person often sells a specific type of product, they can be liable for defects.

What Should You Do If an Influencer Got You to Buy a Faulty Product?

If you've received a product that seems defective, the very first thing you should do is collect some basic information. Take screenshots of the social media posts advertising the item so that you have proof even if the posts are deleted. Though you might be tempted to throw out the product, keep it in case it needs to be examined. Once you have this basic information, it's time to visit an Allentown injury attorney. Legal counsel can help you decide whether or not you want to proceed with the case. If you do decide to sue the influencer, prepare for things to move quickly. Once you hire a lawyer and alert the influencer, you may be able to negotiate a settlement without going to court. However, if this is not an option, your lawyer can help you file your complaint officially, collect evidence surrounding the problem, and present your case in the trial. If you're thinking about starting a product liability lawsuit, the law offices of Metzger & Kleiner are here to help. For over 40 years, our Allentown injury attorney team has been assisting Pennsylvania residents with all sorts of personal injury lawsuits. Contact us to set up your free consultation. You can reach our Lehigh Valley office at (610) 435-7400 and our Philadelphia office at (215) 567-6616.

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