RE: Documentation Legal Issues???

Subject: RE: Documentation Legal Issues???
From: "Hemstreet, Deborah" <DHemstreet -at- kaydon -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 10:24:16 -0400

>From what I have seen, what you were told is "technically" and
"theoretically" correct.

The issue would be, when does it become in the interest of the end-user
to take such a document to court and sue the company. I believe this is
why many manuals have statements such as "The content of this manual is
substantially correct. Graphical representations or instructions may
differ slightly from the actual product."

In the US, this kind of stuff is critical. Overseas, people tend to
laugh at how sue-happy Americans are - but the problem is, if someone
can make money out of an error in a manual, someone, somewhere will.

Of even more critical interest is the issue of medical devices. Here,
pardon my language, I don't know what else to call it, "butt-covering"
is essential for any instructions about the medical device where an
inadvertent error could result in harm to a patient - even if it is the
physician's error! At one company where I worked, my ability to show
that certain safety issues and how they related to certain aspects of
the hardware and software saved the company from a lawsuit from a doctor
who was looking for an excuse for his error. He was being sued and
wanted to find someone to blame. Sadly, there are many such cases out

Smaller companies and start-ups do not worry about these issues so much
(though they should). Many larger companies insist on manuals going
through a legal review, for just this reason, to make sure that all the
appropriate disclaimers appear somewhere.

I am sure there are people who would disagree - and in theory - I do as
well. But at the end of the day - if there is the remotest chance that
an unhappy customer could sue your company (and benefit in so doing),
because of a silly error in the manual - either make sure you have no
errors (next to impossible with development the way it often is), or
make sure you have the appropriate disclaimers in the front matter.

Hope these thoughts lend to fruitful discussion.



ComponentOne Doc-To-Help gives you everything you need to author and
publish quality Help, Web, and print content. Perfect for technical
authors, developers, and policy writers. Download a FREE trial.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: FW: Is there a way to delete ALL hyperlinks in an Excel spreadsheet
Next by Author: Can you help me with this macro? (Word 2003)
Previous by Thread: RE: Documentation Legal Issues???
Next by Thread: Can you help me with this macro? (Word 2003)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads