Robotic Liability ?

I've been meaning to ask this on the group. Maybe someone knows someone in this legal field . I want to start a company that makes
"robotic arms". Mainly at the mechanical end first for prosthetics, solar trackers, PU cranes , lifts for handycaps, and many other uses. I was thinking of making every buyer sign a waver of some kind to keep the sue happy people from wreaking my dreams. Would it have any merit under fire? Something on the line of this is what it is and what you do with it is your problem and I guess a long list of not to does , but that could be endless and I might miss something. The electronics get even scarier , what if a solar flare causes the remote to drop a load on someone? Or it reaches around to the oblivious cop at your window and grabs him by the throat ? Hey, the inventor didn't like cops so sue him !
The way that the group responds to other similar subjects , I'm screwed or might get some good ideas to concider.
Did Isso's? 5 rules of robotics include not to turn your back on them? I forget I tryed to read the book I found , but lost interest in that one. Maybe all his stuff is that way.
Help, I've contemplated this for many years and can't seem to come close to a consensus. Except I might as well stretch my neck out...
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Sunworshiper wrote:

I'm not a lawyer, but do read a lot of trade press, and some of these things come up from time to time.
First, no matter WHAT you get somebody to sign, you can still be sued, and they can still win! You can't absolve yourself from liability with such a document. You can only get out of liability by having somebody standing behind you, usually an insurer of some sort.
Now, a waiver might well prevent a user who misapplied your product from successfully suing you. And, if they overloaded it, that could put the fault on them. But, even then, load handling equipment must be idiot-proof to a substantial degree, because the hazards are too great. If your crane will pick up a load too heavy for it, and then the boom fails, that is YOUR fault! The crane should not be able to lift a load that is anywhere near enough to cause structural failure. (Now, it gets real complicated on cranes, as the load may be OK at short boom extension, but then you try to extend the boom, and when the load is too heavy for that extension, the boom should not extend any further.)

If you know any liability lawyers, see if they have a copy of the applicable federal regs. In fact, any large law firm should have them, just for completeness. There should be OSHA regulations in the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations), but OSHA may also have more specific documents for these types of machines. ISO (International Standards Organization) also has a whole raft of rules on all this sort of stuff. We are trying to harmonize all these safety rules worldwide. Some areas like Electromagnetic Interference have been harmonized to a certain level, others are still in the process. There are also outfits that do safety testing, such as UL and others less well known. They could at least point you to the requirements.
Load handling equipment is in the class of very highly regulated machinery, where your equipment must be certified by some organization, depending on class and location of use, or all hell will break loose. Just try to sell your machines in industry, and you'd find it very difficult to get in the door without proving the gear had been tested.
OSHA and other inspectors wander through plants looking for uncertified equipment, and equipment that is not certified for that class of use. There can be big fines and jail terms for these violations.
Jon
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Sunworshiper wrote:

No.
You need a lawyer. There probably aren't many metalworking lawyers hanging out here. I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.
Real companies do 2 important things besides the waver. Firstly they incorporate. This protects the owners' personal wealth from lawsuits against the company. Secondly, they pay hefty premiums for liability insurance.
My personal opinion is that you would be insane to try to market any sort of medical device without several million dollars funding and at least one partner that had done it before.
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wrote something ......and in reply I say!:
I believe this is changing quite a bit from place to place. In Oz there are a lot of changes to who has to pay for debts, injuries (to employees and others) etc.

**************************************************** sorry remove ns from my header address to reply via email
I was frightened by the idea of a conspiracy that was causing it all. But then I was terrified that maybe there was no plan, really. Is this unpleasant mess all a mistake?
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Old Nick wrote:

There are ways to pierce the corporate veil in the US as well, but it ususally takes some kind of criminal behavior.

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On Wed, 24 Dec 2003 04:33:18 GMT, Sunworshiper

Sure about that? Waivers might have merit in a legal firefight, but they don't forestall assault. You need some financial weight to defend if that happens, or you're screwed by default.
Lawyers will advise you on how to prepare a defensible position; They love defending -- at your expense!
Not saying you shouldn't get waivers if you can to discourage assault. Any document, contract or agreement can be challenged but good defensive fortifications do discourage frivolous attack.
I'd back that up with two further measures, but check with a trusted lawyer on this:
First, I'd do biz thru a biz entity. I use a sub-S corporation but there are others as well. The idea is damage containment. The worst an assailant could do is bankrupt my pissant little corp for its cash balance, no deep pockets there because I keep it so as laywer-proofing.
Second, if I were doing potentially litigeous biz as you contemplate, (I won't touch such work) the corp would carry lots (millions) of liability insurance covering it and it's officers. Deduct the premiums as a biz cost and include them as a burden cost in the price of goods and/or services sold. Insurance companies have lots of lawyers and liability insurance is surprisingly cheap. I'd look at liability insurance as renting protection from a mercenary with heavy artillery I'd rather not have to bear the full cost of in the unlikely event that I'd need it.
My 2 cents worth.
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No Guts, No Glory! | |Pass this onto "Sunworshiper". Maybe he would like to invest in WSM' s |technology as a starting point? | |On the other hand I would like to start a "Cruise Line to the Moon" but I |think the liability issues are too great and the capital investment too |high. Can you get a ticket for speeding in space - If you go faster than |the speed of light, nobody will see you!! | |Have a great Holiday and enjoy your family! | |Scott | | |Scott Millard, President | |Western Space and Marine, Inc. |53 Aero Camino |Goleta (Santa Barbara), CA 93117 | |805-968-3831 |FAX 805-968-0027 |WEB: http://www.wsminc.com
wrote:

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If you go faster than sound, can anyone hear you? IT is well known that bodies travelling faster than light give off cerenkof (sp) radiation, a blue light.
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Precisely what have you been smoking? And where can I get some of it???
It is *FAR* from "well known" that a body travelling faster than light would give off Chernenkov radiation. If Uncle Albert is to be believed, nobody ever will see such an effect, since according to his theories, nothing *CAN* travel faster than light. Therefore, it isn't possible for such a psuedo-fact to be known - well, poorly, or otherwise.
Further, Chernenkov radiation is a product of high-energy beta particles interacting with (usually, although there are several other, as yet still theoretical, situations where other materials may produce a similar effect) water, and is most commonly observed in water-moderated or water-shielded nuclear reactors. The auroras (both borealis and australis) *MAY* be a manifestation of Chernenkov radiation or some very similar process, but last I heard, the jury was still out on that.
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Don Bruder wrote:

...
^ Cerenkov ...

^ Cerenkov

^ Cerenkov

^ Cerenkov

Don, the correct spelling of Cerenkov is Cerenkov. Also, you are completely wrong in your first paragraph; it is indeed well-known that Cerenkov radiation occurs when a particle travels in a medium faster than the speed of light in that medium, as for example a high-energy beta particle traveling in water. See, for example, http://nova.nuc.umr.edu/~ans/cerenkov.html , the first of about 5,630 google results for "Cerenkov Radiation". It is also well- known that the speed of light in water is less than in vacuum. -jiw
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I suspect maybe you are thinking of Bremsstrahlung, or "braking radiation", where high-energy electrons (aka beta particles) generate light as a consequence of interacting with various materials or accelerating in an electromagnetic field, as in a sychrotron. Chernenkov radiation is a different beast entirely. Auroras are pretty well-understood manifestations of plasma physics, governed by electronic transistions in atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere energized by high-energy particles from the solar wind trapped in the geomagnetic field. We generate the exact same thing every day in metal sputtering and plasma etch equipment, with the color of the plasma being determined by the type of gas and degree of excitation in the vacuum chamber.
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Here's a story that relates:
Back in my go-karting days I found out that you could rent the local track on a weekday for $75 from the little old lady who owned it. She'd make you sign a waiver that was sort of hilarious. It tried to limit her liability, and actually had a price list for various injuries. So much per limb, eye, finger, etc. I generally got a couple of guys together to split the $75 fee. One day, I rented the track with an acquaintance who was a lawyer. She handed him the waiver. The exchange went like this:
Lawyer: "I'll sign this, but I can tell you right now that it won't hold up in court."
Track Owner: "Are you a lawyer or something?"
Lawyer: "yes"
Track Owner: "OK, that'll be $150.00 "
From then on, we had to pay $150 a day.
Back to your question. The waiver may not hold up in court, but could still have value as a deterrent. It's quite feasible that someone who is considering filing suit will be scared off, before seeking council, by knowing that he/she signed a waiver. If the waiver makes them dismiss the idea it could be worthwhile after all.
Regards, Dave
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Sunworshiper wrote:

IANAL, but you also need to be concerned about someone who is not your customer or other person who has signed away their right to sue. Nothing anyone signs will protect you from injured parties who have not signed an agreement.
If, to use your example, a solar flare causes your system to drop a load on someone, I doubt any agreement would protect you. It's your responsibility to make the system failsafe.
IANAL, but spent a good share of my career desgning machinery that could kill people if it malfunctioned. I worked for a large corporation with a lot of lawyers on staff. Their advice was that the best protection against lawsuits was to do the engineering right. Doing the engineering right includes designing in fail safe modes of operation in machinery.
Dick
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my career in >>>>> business and to a person the answer is, you cannot deny a person their legal

by your >>>>> actions. Part of the cost of doing business is liability insurance to cover an

problem. One

small >>>>> component part on someone else's assembly, the unit fails due to something >>>>> other than your part, and you'll more than likely be named as party in the >>>>> lawsuit. Business is not as much fun now that we have such as litigious >>>>> society.
Ed Angell
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Product Liability Insurance.

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Thanks all. Finally got the radio clock that listens to the NIST in Co. for the shop. Life expectency for watchs with me can be in hours. Anyhow, there is an interesting warranty for the clock.
X Co. will not assume liability for incedental, consequntial, punitive or other similar damages associated with the operation or malfuntion of the product.
This warranty gives you specific legal rights. You may also have other rights specific to your state. Some states do not allow the exclusion of consequntial or incidental damages so the above exclusion of limitation may not apply to you.
I checked into incorporation years ago, I read a bunch of stuff , went to the Sercritary of State a couple of times , and saw a number of corporate attorneys. That is one frustrating legal mess , about the only good thing is that NV. is one of the best places to go inc.
Its all daunting , I don't see how people pull it off. Come up with an idea , research it , find your markets, learn patent law, patent it, build a shop, hunt for machines, learn machining, find parts, learn inc. law, liability law, business law, ect. ect. ect. . Can't wait for all the exporting problems.
I was trying to concentrate on making the thing and then a potential partner shows up. I just need to get a big picture of all the rest again so at least I remember to get the stage scenery for the dog and pony show.
Anyone know of a *good* book on incorportating? IIRC , I don't get to "own" anything and I have to bring the cardboard cut outs of the "persons" that own the company (s) on vacation ahhh business trips. There must be rules on switching $ around and loop holes like one Co. makes the electronics and another makes the mechanical part so the customer put it together. Anyhow, I need to know something about it to understand the lawyers. I'll have to look around for a robotic liability attorney if there is such a thing.
I wanted to be a lear jet pilot it sure would have been easier.
Oh yeah, what was it "insane" to try prosthetics , your probably right. I called a leader in prosthetics once and he was real pissy about how I got his phone #. :o) a lot of persistence. That one can take a back burner till I at least find out how much a fore arm weighs. Is there liability for gifts?
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Sunworshiper wrote:

If you are determined to do it yourself, check out www.nolopress.com They have all sorts of legal self-help books.
This is an area where you really should get yourself a good, honorable lawyer (yes, they do exist). When I incorporated my company (straight corporation, California), my family lawyer did it for about $350. That included a big binder with corporate bylaws, stock certificates, and corporate seal. I couldn't imagine trying to do it for less.
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wrote:

Thanks, forgot about them. Like I was trying to say, I was trying to focus on one major problem and now thrown back into the big picture. If I wasn't so busy putting out fires left and right I would go through trunks and filing cabnets and find out where I was before. I don't think I thought of a corporation back then to hide from sue happy people though.
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