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  • Question about liability......

    As some of you know I have built a couple of ramps for freestyle motocross jumpers. Actually, I made one for myself and one for a friend who has his own track. I currently agreed to build one for a track in Pennsylvania that I frequent and took a small deposit. The guy says he already started to build the landing. Anyways, he has possibly $2000-3500 invested in the whole thing, but only $600 to me. I am questioning whether I should build this ramp as his track is open to the public (THEY SIGN A WAIVER, PAY AND RIDE ). I do not have my own business. I have always built stuff on the side for friends and a couple cash customers. Anyways, my ramps are proven and strong(I am a full time welder by trade). I am not worried about them failing, but more less if the rider doesn't have the proper skills or the track owner doesn't set things up just right and keep everything maintained well. Anyways, what do you all think the liabilities may be on my part? Am I still liable even if the rider signs a waiver at the track and the track says ride at your own risk? I'd surely rather give the $600 back and help reimburse for the initial investment rather than put myself and soon to be wife at risk of a lawsuit. Anyways, thanks in advance for any thoughts/opinions. Dave

  • #2
    any thing that you build/repair will carry some risk, a good trial lawyer will cut right thru the waiver. lets say that an adult got hurt on the ramp. he ran over his own foot, now it has to be in a cast. what this guy can do is sue the park, the owner of the park has liability insurance, the owners insurance accepts the claim, then goes after all other parties involved in the ramp, by suing their insurance co., where you have no insurance, this is what will happen, you will be sued for some stupid amount, lets say 5 million, now you need a lawyer, he wants 20 grand for a retainer due to the fact its a 5 million dollar case. now if you were in business for your self and had a liability policy, you might get sued, and if you did, the insurance co,s would work it out because its a bs claim, see where i am going with this, an un insured welder doing small jobs or favors for people can really get into trouble. usually its not the friend of yours who sues you, its a third party who sues your friends insurance, then his insurance will go after you. the question that you asked is , is their any risk, yes their is, you can be the best welder on earth, but that isnt the issue, the real issue is, with out insurance, and a claim happens, you will need to hire an attorney to hash it all out. dont get suckered in by people saying, i will not sue you, i will sign a waiver for your liability. once you strike an arc, you are the pro, you are responsible. this happens in all the trades, not just welding, i hope this helps, i would not do it, you have too much to loose. kevin

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    • #3
      If you dont have ins likely they wont sue you.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sberry View Post
        If you dont have ins likely they wont sue you.
        And do for cash without any paper trail.
        Nothing welded, Nothing gained

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        • #5
          man, i disagree with these last few post, you do what you want to do but cya because there is always some a.hole out there looking to take what dont belong to him

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          • #6
            No paper trail !

            If it where me I would do it with no paper trail, but this also means no pictures nothing to tie you to it in any way! Not to be S#!+y to your buddy but if something dose happen you have to be ready to say you where never there and let you buddy go it alone.

            I know a gut who built a set-up to go in the back of his f-350 dually to turn it into a tow truck I told him it was a bad idea because it was not bolted to the frame it only had a small plate to attached it to his goose neck ball. He was pulling someone out of a bar ditch and the thing flew out of the back of his truck and the car rolled back down into the bar ditch causing more damage he s no longer in business for him self.
            Just cause I ain't old don't mean I ain't old school.

            "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."
            -Gen. George Smith Patton, Jr-

            If you don't like the sparks and flame you can always be a desk jocky pencil pusher.

            You soul better belong to jesus because your @$$ belongs to me.
            -MEGADETH-

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            • #7
              What you are trying to avoid is called product liability. And try as you will you will not avoid it. A decent lawyer will have everything you own on an inventory sheet in no time flat and the auction will follow soon. Get legit, get insurance and be a real business or leave the paying work to those who have spent the money and paid the premium. Not trying to be hard, but thats the way it is. You gotta pay to play and if you are cutting this corner, what other corners are you willing to cut. This is why the "welding shop" down the street has to charge 25 bucks for that puny quick little weld you need done right now, overhead and licensing aint cheap. Sorry
              Bob

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              • #8
                By Rbeckett


                what you are trying to avoid is called product liability. And try as you will you will not avoid it. A decent lawyer will have everything you own on an inventory sheet in no time flat and the auction will follow soon. Get legit, get insurance and be a real business or leave the paying work to those who have spent the money and paid the premium. Not trying to be hard, but thats the way it is. You gotta pay to play and if you are cutting this corner, what other corners are you willing to cut. This is why the "welding shop" down the street has to charge 25 bucks for that puny quick little weld you need done right now, overhead and licensing aint cheap. Sorry
                bob
                x2!!! Facts of life.
                Flash me! I'm a welder.

                American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers Local 60

                America is a Union

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                • #9
                  I am not disagreeing you need product liability but I hate to have free advertisements for lawyers here too.
                  A decent lawyer will have everything you own on an inventory sheet in no time flat and the auction will follow soon.
                  Are we going to have a trial before this happens? 99% of cases never see a courtroom, they are settlements. Ins companies usually settle because they think its cheaper than a bunch of lawyers, now an ins co may settle on my behalf but I personally wont. Someone better be prepared to prove it in court. I have been threatened by lawyer types a couple times, not one ever did it. If you have a great deal of property someone might come after you but your net worth has to be enough to make this all worth while.
                  They don't want a guy thats making payments on a house or cars and no ins, or better yet house payments and drives a 6 yr old car. They sure the well insured. Wanna sue someone you hire, make sure he is insured.

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                  • #10
                    But having said that a dirt bike track that is open to public is something I might want to stay away from though, absolutely so much beyond your control.

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                    • #11
                      I'm with Sberry unfortunately. I hate a free ad for the ambulance chasers more than most, but after enduring an event in my distant past I am weary about the possibilities that can happen. I played loose and fast a long time ago and it cost me big, so I dont do anything that requires a license or insurance any more. If I want to be the welding shop down the street I need to buck up and buy the insurance and get the license just like my counter parts. No license or no insurance is a risk I took and lost, not willing to try that water again. Got my lesson in my 20's and it took till my late 40's to overcome youthfull ignorence.
                      Bob

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                      • #12
                        Well, I guess you have to measure what you will gain by what you may lose.

                        Have to say $600 would make me think twice.
                        Nothing welded, Nothing gained

                        Miller Dynasty700DX
                        3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
                        Miller Dynasty200DX
                        ThermalArc 400 GTSW
                        MillerMatic350P
                        MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
                        MKCobraMig260
                        Lincoln SP-170T
                        Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
                        Hypertherm 1250
                        Hypertherm 800
                        PlasmaCam CNC cutter
                        Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
                        SiberHegner CNC Mill
                        2 ea. Bridgeport
                        LeBlond 15" Lathe
                        Haberle 18" Cold Saw
                        Doringer 14" Cold Saw
                        6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

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                        • #13
                          Legal question

                          No disrespect to previous posts, but if you want a welding job done or a welding question answered, do you go to a lawyer? So why are you asking welders about legal matters? Laws vary greatly by state and new court decisions are made every day and liability is hughly complex. Worse, ask three different lawyers and you may get three different answers, but at least you will have a starting point. Finally, it's pretty easy, especially in this economy, to find an attorney who will not charge for an initial visit.

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                          • #14
                            Don't do it!

                            If it is for public use, you could be held liable if there is an accident.

                            I know of an extended trailer hitch that failed causing personal injury to a third party. Insurance investigator discovered "homemade" extension hitch and at first would not cover his client, then went after certified welder for all his worth.

                            Welder's cost $15K to his lawyer & $11.5K settlement to victim in Alabama, 1986.

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                            • #15
                              If you're going to do this type work (potential high risk) and charge for it, you're considered a "business" and need to have the proper insurance and permits in place.

                              No one here has a higher dislike for attorney's but that's what they get paid to do. Find someone else "responsible" for their client's stupidity.

                              The only way I see around this is if you did the work for the track owner as an employee. Let him purchase the materials and pay you by the hour for the time invested. May not totally shield you, but it would be harder to link you directly.

                              Personally, for $600, I'd probably tell the track owner I didn't have the insurance to cover that type project.


                              BTW: Just the "liability only" portion (3 Million) costs me about $3000/yr, and I've never had a claim filed. Agent is a "very good friend" and has written all my business insurance (Yacht sales/service) for over 20 years.
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