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Legal Analysis

Here are Your Legal Options If Eclipse Glasses Fail

In case you haven’t noticed, Monday’s much-hyped solar eclipse has led to a mass marketing spree for manufacturers of specialized sunglasses meant to allow people to look up and admire the view without severely damaging their eyes. But with recalls of some glasses already taking place, it raises the question: if you use glasses and suffer damage anyway, is there any legal recourse? The answer, as is the case with most legal issues, is “it depends.”

Products liability cases typically deal with defects in a products design or manufacturing. So if you get hurt looking at the sun, you’d have to prove that your glasses were defective in that they were either improperly made, or that the whole design idea behind them was faulty.

At the same time, LawNewz Network host Heather Hansen noted that some glasses are labeled as NASA-approved, while others are not. “If you buy a pair that isn’t approved, you may ‘assume the risk’ that your eyes will be damaged,” she said. “However, if you were to buy the correct glasses, and use them in the correct way, and STILL get injured? You may have a lawsuit.”

Then you have office parties meant for employees to enjoy the eclipse together. Without knowledge of whether or not any glasses will be effective, it would be wise for employers to have workers agree to hold them harmless from any injury they may suffer. As LawNewz Network analyst Ken Belkin said, “they should be signing some very strongly-worded waivers,” before taking part in any workplace eclipse-watching.

Keep all of this in mind before looking at the sun, and stay safe out there.

[Image via Igor Zh/Shutterstock]

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