Gary Bruce discusses viewer questions about the Tide Pod challenge and liability for a car wreck that happens on icy roads. Specifically, viewers want to know whether Procter & Gamble can be held liable for teens and adults injured while participating in the Tide Pod challenge. While Procter & Gamble have been sued over Tide Pod related incidents over the years, the successful lawsuits have involved young children eating the Tide Pods. To combat the issue, Procter & Gamble made it more difficult to open the containers the Tide Pods come in and also made the plastic casing around the pods more bitter. Liability for teens and adults participating in the Tide Pod challenge is different, though, because a teen or adult knows or should know that they are ingesting something hazardous.
With regard to liability for wrecks that happen during icy road conditions, the weather is not a defense to liability or negligence. The weather is often a contributing factor to a car wreck. As a driver, you have a duty to operate your vehicle in the same way that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would operate their vehicle. This takes things like weather into account – you have a duty to drive the way that a reasonable person would drive under the same conditions. This is why these natural conditions are not defenses to liability.
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Narrator: Now answering your questions about the law and legal issues this is Legal Break with attorney, Gary Bruce.
Gary: Good Morning and thank you for all the questions you’ve been sending in. We’ll start right away with one that came in on Facebook at WTVM, and you can send one to my own Facebook as well at: Gary Bruce Law Offices. But the first questions about the tide pod challenge. Is there a responsibility for Procter & Gamble for people eating the pods of detergent?
Good question, you know, they’ve been a problem for some time. The small children found the bright colors and the size of them made it look like candy, and so children were eating the pods back as far as two or three years ago. And there was some legal action taken at that time Procter & Gamble made it taste more bitter if you can believe that. They went in and made it taste terrible so that the kids wouldn’t continue to eat it. They also made it more difficult to get into the product. So that kind of apparently helped with the small children trying to eat the pods. Now we have teenagers and young adults who are deciding this is something fun to do. It’s not- it’s very dangerous. Kids have passed away. But is there liability? And I would say probably not. I mean they know, or should know that this is a dangerous thing to do. There’s been enough in the news about it that they have assumed the risk of injury. It wouldn’t be any different than maybe eating poison of some kind. So you know, thank you for the question- I don’t think Procter & Gamble has liability, but hey, who knows.
Our next question will come to us from a viewer who we have on video, so let’s go to her.
Question Two: Hey Gary. Is being on ice a defense in a car wreck. Can I blame the snow for the accident?
Gary: Well a timely question given last week’s problems with weather. But this is something that comes up a lot. Is Sun in your eyes, is heavy rain, or is snow or ice are those defenses to driving poorly or to hitting somebody? And the answer generally is no. These are not acts of God, although they are. But there not the kind of thing that give you a defense to liability. We have an obligation as drivers on the road to determine whether it’s safe to be on the road, or whether it’s we’re driving at a safe speed. So generally what happens is people drive too fast for conditions and bad things happen.
I appreciate the questions. We’re going to continue this type of format answering your questions. Please feel free to go to my website, call our office if you have some, go to WTVM’s Facebook page or the Law Offices of Gary Bruce Facebook page, and send us more questions so we can answer timely legal questions for you. Thank you again for watching and we’ll see you next week.