friends working together in shop

Page 1 of 2  
Not talking about job workshops, but working with friends on projects at home shop. Looking for some advise or experiences. My tools and shop and buddy or neighbor gets hurt doing something. What do you do to keep from possible legal problems associated with an accident. How do you protect yourself without first making a lawyer drawn up contract with them? Or is that what you have to do. I'm aware of making sure they know how to use tools safely but what else. CC
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The sad but easy answer is to refrain from having people work at your shop or on your premises.
It is easy for an attorney to sue you, even if the incident was an accident. Simple questions will be asked:
- WHO was it that decided this person was qualified to use the tools in question?
- Did you know the risks before you let him use the XXXX saw? Did you make him aware he could lose an eye/finger? Did he UNDERSTAND completely the risks involved?
- Since you were the one with the tools, the one that checked him out to work with your tools, did you supervise him? Who watched him while you went to the bathroom/got a cold drink/checked on dinner/talked to your kids, etc.?
- And BTW - who died and made you the King of all power tools and their use? Did you specifically tell and demonstrate him the correct approach to using the tool that cut off his finger?
*********************
It goes on and on and on. There is NO way for you to dodge liability, even it was an accident. You or your insurance will be liable, and YOU possibly face the evils of subrogation. Even in the face of it being an actual accident, if it is an expensive injury your insurance company will make all efforts to recoup their medical, legal, processing and case monitoring costs.
I have been coached well in this by my insurance agent. Further by my sister that is an underwriting trainer and claims supervisor for a large company.
My answer to my neighbors is sorry, can't do it.
And remember this; the larger the accident, the more likely they will be to sue, just from the sheer economics of the cost of medical treatment, deductibles, time off work, etc.
A legal contract simply will not protect you. Worse, if they can prove simple negligence on your part (cords not grounded correctly, no safety glasses, no gloves, no ground faults, no dust collections or masks, adequate workspace, etc. ) you could be open to civil liability as well.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Unfortunately, Robert's comment above is about the only safe way to CYA in our litigious society.
Lew
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

See!! I knew damn good and well I was correct in having sympathy for the guy, capture on News video a few years ago, chasing his lawyer around a tree and shooting him ...
Noble pursuit ...
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Thanks for all the responses everyone, Seems as if the system is now set up so a couple guys cannot get together to build something for the pleasure of doing it without having to worry about if are you going to loose everything you have for a hobby or a pleasant evening. Also shows what can happen if an accident happens to someone other than yourself and the insurance companies and lawyers take it over and out of your hands Leaves a lot to think about if that comes up. Not what I was hoping for but I wanted to know the reality of what could result. CC
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
CC wrote: ...

Well, it's just as true if you invite the neighbors over for a wienie roast and somebody were to step off the stoop so don't get _too_ uptight despite the "what if's" and "could be's".
The upshot is in my estimation to live your life but _do_ be sensible. Make sure you do have sufficient coverage for liability and ensure that the coverage includes shop tools.
If one were to try to be totally risk-averse there would be nothing one could do.
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I think it has to do with the individuals involved too. If I were over at a friends shop working on a project with them, and something happened to me, I wouldn't be looking to sue them or anyone else for that matter. As far as equipment goes, I wouldn't try to use a power tool that I didn't know anything about until shown or read the manual on how to use it. But some people have different ideas of how to live and interact with others. There are some that I know that I'd not want over to a weenie roast or anything else for that matter. :) It'd be my fault if they choked on a hotdog. Those types, you want at a distance CC
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
CC wrote:

All the above is true and I've no disagreement at all.
The only other comment I would make is that even someone you've known long time can become very different person in the event of serious accident and injury.
I don't do other than you're outlining above, but I am pretty stiff in the "who" doesn't stay at a distance.
I have the potential issues of employees, of course, but as farm rather than industrial there's a fair amount of leeway as opposed to some of the guys here who are actually running commercial shops.
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
CC wrote:

It may not be up to you...if you are seriously injured and file an insurance claim the insurance company may sue them to recover what they spent on you.
Chris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
CC wrote:

For the lawyers to take over, they usually have to have a living plaintiff (nudge-nudge, hint-hint). Failing that, the deceased's estate gets involved (nudge-nudge, know-what-I-mean? know-what-I-mean?). Eventually, the search for heirs will peter out.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
HeyBub wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Degrees_of_Kevin_Bacon
--
Froz...

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
CC wrote:

Do you have good homeowner's insurance and will it cover friends using your tools in your shop? Do your friends have good medical insurance? Do you have a good lawyer, and plenty of savings to pay that lawyer if something goes wrong? If the answer to all these questions is "yes" then maybe you'll be okay even if someone gets hurt. But if somebody is injured on your property and decides to sue you, or if an insurance company hit with a claim decides to sue you, then your retirement fund is going to be depleted first by your legal bills and then perhaps by a judgment against you.
It might be worth a couple of hundred bucks to talk to a lawyer about this. But I have a couple of friends who are lawyers and I bet I know what they would have to say about the idea--don't do it unless you enjoy the feeling of rolling the dice.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
CC wrote:

Lots and lots and lots of liability insurance. Or have it be generally known that you're so poor that even if they sued you and won and you sold everything you had they wouldn't get back legal fees and court costs.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
CC wrote:

It's been interesting reading the comments to this. I'm up in Canada so maybe things are different here, but I haven't heard of anyone suing a friend because they were injured in a friend's shop. It's probably happened, but I haven't heard of it.
Chris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good Lord! How did we do this to ourselves?
I spent 2 months in southern California during the late 1980's and couldn't understand how the locals could let gangs take over the LA area. A few years later they were doing the same thing in Wichita, Ks.
But sometimes I think we have let lawyers do as much damage as gangs.
RonB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"RonB" wrote:

For starters, think "DRUGS".
Look at what is going on right now in Mexico.
Lew
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Can you even buy home woners insurance with out coverage for some one getting hurt on your property? If you don't have home owners insurance you are asking for trouble. For that matter, a guest could slip on a spill in your kitchen, or fall in the the bath tub, or trip over a garden hose, or cut himself on a broken glass, the list goes on. It would be wise to consult you insurance agent.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Leon wrote: ...

If one has a mortgage, that's undoubtedly a requirement.
The problem generally isn't that there is a policy; it's that the limits are too low (by far)...
I don't know if the shop would qualify as the "attractive nuisance" hazard since it isn't outside tempting the neighbor kids as the pool but certainly the possibility of a potentially serious (read "expensive") accident is raised w/ power tools.
The facts are that "friends" and/or even more likely w/ "just neighbors" is that the friendship or acquaintanceship will disappear if there is an accident of any consequence and the insurance companies get involved. At that point it becomes a case of what the actual legal liabilities are, friendship or no.
That said, I'd not say unequivocally "no", but I would surely recommend the blanket umbrella policy of at _least_ $1M and make clear from the underwriter it covers such activity.
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It isn't an attractive nuisance. It is considered something far worse, which thankfully, the name escapes me. But it has to do with you holding meetings/get togethers or what ever you want to call them in unsafe or unsupervised conditions. I will personally guarantee that sight unseen I could go into anyone's shop, mine included and find a half dozen OSHA violations in just minutes, rendering them unsafe. And if you know they exist (loose rung on a ladder, poor dust ventilation, ungrounded plug, etc.) then you could be found negligent.
All an attorney has to do in open court is to get you to admit that you knew you had a frayed wire, a plane with a worn out frog that lets the blade slip, a saw with a guard doesn't return to cover the blade in a crisp manner, and you are toast. If you admit to one thing, it is the same as admitting you knew all along there were unsafe conditions in your shop, thus making it a >>unnecessarily<< dangerous place.
You will be questioned as well as to who trained you (and their qualifications) if someone gets hurt while using tools under your tutelage. Believe me, the "I learned it from an old fella that had been doing it for 30 years" won't count. You won't believe what a dumbass you will feel like when they ask you, "how did you learn to use this tool?" and make you state you had no "formal" training.
Knowing you didn't take a class to use a circular saw, the (attorneys) will ask you, "then how do you know you are using it the correct way, the safest way? And what in the world qualified you to be a teacher?"
As important, the question will be asked concerning your "plan" for first aid. What was it? Did you know people can get hurt using edged or powered tools? You knew that, right? OK.... then what were you prepared to do about it? Do you even have the proper sized first aid kit for 3-4 people in the shop?
And the worst sin possible? To sell anything that you make in the shop/not shop. That defines it as a commercial enterprise. I think you actually have to sell a dollar amount, but it's pretty low.
Can anyone here tell I have been sued more than once?

Absolutely true. And the insurance companies don't care who was friends or not. They will take all responsibility, common sense, and well meaning efforts out of the equation.
The key here is to understand that the insurance companies will take control of who pays what, who sues who, and how it all comes together completely away from the homeowner. They will do what they need to do to protect their own interests, with or without your participation or input. In some high ticket settlements, they will sue each other just to mitigate the losses they face. You will have absolutely no control whatsoever in their actions.
For example, my insurance my and I were talking about this situation, and he went to a class to renew his license a few years ago. An example they studied was where the insureds were doing exactly as CC described. But in his case study, the example folks had a rule of putting in $5 a week for refreshments and to contribute a couple of bucks for the use of the facility (aka - the garage).
Since they ragged each other to make sure they collected so they would have money in the kitty for cold drinks, a possible lunch, and maybe a cold beer at the end of a hot summer day, they were considered dues. Dues were defined >very< simply as a set amount, collected at a specified time, by a certain person that kept record of who paid and who didn't.
Further, they called themselves something stupid thanks to a wife that thought the nearly weekly assembly was "cute". They were "The Termites", "Nahmies" something like that.
Now we have a club. 1) It was an organized meeting ("we try to meet around 6:30 or so in the evening, either Tuesday or Thursday during the week") with 2) dues to be paid, and 3) it even had a name. I am sure they would have sealed their own fate if someone got them tee shirts.
A "club" meeting in the house violated his homeowner insurance description of coverage, so the injury that brought these conditions to light was denied by his own insurance. No coverage.
Everyone sued everyone in an attempt to hold each other responsible and to collect, and in the end only the attorneys were made whole.
So... if anyone wants to play that game, go ahead. It's like running through the house with a kitchen knife in your hand; no big deal unless you trip.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Left some blood (less than many, more than most) on foreign soil, supposedly to "defend" this country and what it(once) stood for.
Now, just "why" was that again ...??
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.