Is it negligence when an employee has a consumer misuse a product, which could result in causing deadly effects?

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Is it negligence when an employee has a consumer misuse a product, which could result in causing deadly effects?

After entering a cigar shop with legal products, an employee asked if I’d like to try a sample of a product coming in 2 weeks. Not having any knowledge of the product I believed it to be a safe herbal blend, since I was told that it is intended to be smoked. He placed product in a pipe. I tried it and suffered 3 hours of uncontrollable thoughts of suicide, partial paralysis, and vomiting. Disclaimer on package was not shown to me. Afterwords I found the claim that “product not meant for human consumption orally or through inhalation of smoke”. Is this negligence on employee and/or business? Should O consult with a personal injury attorney? In Brooklyn, NY.

Asked on February 8, 2011 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

DEFINITELY speak to a personal injury attorney IF you suffered any damage or injury beyond the very bad 3 hours you describe. What the employee did sounds like it was negligent (or unreasonably careless), reckless (*extremely* careless), or even intentional, and under the circumstances, since the employee was in a smoke shop, giving a customer something to smoke, it may well give rise to liability against the employer, the shop, as well.

The problem is, lawsuits are intended to compensate for economic losses, medical costs, or significant pain and suffering--the  amount of compensation you can sue for is linked to the extent and duration of damages. If you "just" had a really bad 3 hours and maybe one doctor's visit, with no lingering effects, then it's almost certainly not economically worth suing; you might, though, wish to report this to the police, better business bureau, and/or the state or city agenies licensing shops like this.


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