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Liability insurance

 

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bigorangemd  (D 30922)

Nov 24, 2011, 11:13 AM
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Liability insurance Can't Post

I am getting ready to get my tandem rating. I am lucky enough to have a good job and am concerned about personal liability. Are there policys that cover the TI against liability?


VTmotoMike08  (D 30399)

Nov 24, 2011, 12:31 PM
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Re: [bigorangemd] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

Not that I know of, and I wouldn't want it even if it was available. If they know you have insurance, they are more likely to sue since they know you (your insurance) have the ability to pay. I know several people who have turned in their rating or choose not to get it because of personal liability.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 24, 2011, 12:46 PM
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Re: [bigorangemd] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I am getting ready to get my tandem rating. I am lucky enough to have a good job

You don't hear those two things together very often! Sure there are TIs with good 'day' jobs, but how many that had the good job before they got the rating (I'm sure at least a few will post to prove me wrong, but I'm sure that money is big motivator for people getting tandem ratings).

It's hard, dangerous work, and it exposes you to a great deal of liability, and I don't believe there an insurance carrier that would cover you. Forget having insurance as making you a target, try being involved in an incident in any way, pilot, TI, DZO, gear manufacturer, etc, and you'll be named in a lawsuit. The idea is to throw as much shit at the wall as possible, and see what sticks (and then see who's got money out of that group).

Look into video work. If you can manage not to run into anyone, you'll be liability free and 'involved' with students. I know a guy who filmed a jump that resulted in a fatality, and everyone under the sun got sued, except him. He got one voicemail from a lawyer looking for him to come to a deposition, and he didn't even return the call. Everyone else spent years and tens of thousands of dollars defending themselves in a case that was eventually dropped. The instructor spent more in legal fees defending himself than he would have made doing tandems for 5 years (summer weekends only).


(This post was edited by davelepka on Nov 24, 2011, 12:46 PM)


bigorangemd  (D 30922)

Nov 24, 2011, 4:15 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm familiar with personal liability (I'm an ER doc) so it goes with the territory. Not having insurance definitely doesn't keep you from getting sued just keeps the judgement from stinging. I currently do videos, just wanting to get TI. Just have to shield myself. Can't afford 50+k to fight a lawsuit.


spootch  (C License)

Nov 24, 2011, 6:00 PM
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Re: [bigorangemd] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

It begs the question "what can we do"? Or better yet how can we get some sort of coverage. I'm from the CSPA side of things ( not that it matters) and find it a little nerve racking that some fucking asshat can drag me into court because "i didn't know it could be dangerous"
It's almost come to the point where surviving the jump wasn't the scary thing, surviving the lawsuit is.

Is there seriously no sports insurance out there? I mean if J Lo can insure her ass, why cant I cover mine?Tongue


wildcard451  (D License)

Nov 25, 2011, 1:46 PM
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Re: [bigorangemd] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm familiar with personal liability (I'm an ER doc) so it goes with the territory. Not having insurance definitely doesn't keep you from getting sued just keeps the judgement from stinging. I currently do videos, just wanting to get TI. Just have to shield myself. Can't afford 50+k to fight a lawsuit.

I gave up my AFF rating when I finished residency for this very reason.

Edit: If you want to continue, you can ask your insurance agents about Umbrella policies that are strict liability policies. That should cover you if it all goes to hell. I do not know details beyond that idea however.


(This post was edited by wildcard451 on Nov 25, 2011, 1:48 PM)


Andy9o8  (D License)

Nov 27, 2011, 6:08 AM
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Re: [spootch] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Is there seriously no sports insurance out there? I mean if J Lo can insure her ass, why cant I cover mine?Tongue

That's a fair question. The answer is, the insurance premiums on J Lo's policy are huge, but given the income and profits, they calculate it as an acceptable part of necessary overhead. So yes, a TI might be able to get decent liability coverage, but he might have to turn to, say, Lloyd's of London to get it, and expect to pay huge premiums. It's a safe bet that the medical malpractice insurance premiums the OP pays as an ER doc are pretty high.


(This post was edited by Andy9o8 on Nov 27, 2011, 6:11 AM)


velvetjo  (D License)

Nov 28, 2011, 10:11 PM
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Re: [bigorangemd] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

You might find this thread helpful. I had similar concerns and it generated some interesting points.

I've done tandems when needed over the last couple of seasons, and one of the scariest was a lady who could barely demonstrate an arch or lift her legs for landing. I let her know that if she didn't, we weren't going. That motivated her enough to at least show me that she could. On the way to the boarding area I asked her what she did for a living and she responded: "corporate lawyer." Predictably, she was more like cargo than a participant in the jump. I'm still not sure why I took her.

Despite all that, tandems can be a real blast with a good student.

Lance


Rstanley0312  (D 31900)

Nov 29, 2011, 12:52 PM
Post #9 of 52 (2289 views)
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Re: [bigorangemd] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I am getting ready to get my tandem rating. I am lucky enough to have a good job and am concerned about personal liability. Are there policys that cover the TI against liability?

I would go with prepaid legal over insurance.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Nov 29, 2011, 1:30 PM
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Re: [Rstanley0312] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I am getting ready to get my tandem rating. I am lucky enough to have a good job and am concerned about personal liability. Are there policys that cover the TI against liability?

I would go with prepaid legal over insurance.

At best (if that), "prepaid legal" might help defray his legal fees. Whether he'll get an attorney experienced in the defense of serious aviation claims is another matter.

But in any event, unlike insurance, it will do nothing to indemnify him or protect his assets.


bigorangemd  (D 30922)

Nov 30, 2011, 1:53 AM
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Re: [Andy9o8] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

Checking into a few umbrella policies. Don't hold out much hope as I think the cost will be more than makes sense given the fact I'm already doing video. If I cannot get an umbrella policy I won't be doing the tandem course.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Nov 30, 2011, 4:52 AM
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Re: [bigorangemd] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Checking into a few umbrella policies. Don't hold out much hope as I think the cost will be more than makes sense given the fact I'm already doing video. If I cannot get an umbrella policy I won't be doing the tandem course.

Can't say I blame you. As a doc, you're well familiar with how many (most?) individual docs (assuming they're not already part of a practice group which is incorporated) often form a 1-person corporation to shield their personal assets from med mal liability. I'm not giving you legal advice, but you may wish to consult an attorney in your state to explore this general idea as a TI.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 30, 2011, 5:07 AM
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Re: [Andy9o8] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
form a 1-person corporation to shield their personal assets from med mal liability. I'm not giving you legal advice, but you may wish to consult an attorney in your state to explore this general idea as a TI.

This has proven to be less than effective. Somebody mentioned it upthread, somthing about personal action and being sued personally. If a UPS driver was drunk and hit your car, you could sue UPS but you could also sue the driver personally as it was his personal action that casued the harm.

In the case of a DZ, I'm sure the DZ and the 'shell' corporation would be sued, but with neither one of them being insured, they would also sue the TI, the pilot, the gear manufacturer, and maybe the aircraft manufacturer. It comes back to the 'sue everyone first, see who has money later' plan.

I think the main advantage of creating an LLC is tax based at this point, and even than varies from state to state.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Nov 30, 2011, 6:00 AM
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Re: [davelepka] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
form a 1-person corporation to shield their personal assets from med mal liability. I'm not giving you legal advice, but you may wish to consult an attorney in your state to explore this general idea as a TI.

This has proven to be less than effective. Somebody mentioned it upthread, somthing about personal action and being sued personally.

It's a half-measure, to be sure. Of course one can (and will) always be sued individually. But forming a corporation, and properly operating solely within the formalities of the corporation (which some incorporated individuals carelessly neglect to do), measurably increases (there is no guarantee) the individual's chances of avoiding a liability judgment in court (legal fees aside), even if the corporation is formally adjudged liable. It really does make a difference, beyond taxation considerations.

Technically, maximizing one's protection may be a package: incorporate, observe and operate within all corporate formalities, don't inter-mingle anything corporate with anything individual, and insure both the corporation and the individual. Which might just be practically unaffordable.

Another philosophy which does have some legs is that taken by "The Uninsured Relative Workshop", et al.: don't insure, and don't have substantial assets, thereby presenting a much less attractive target. Believe me, when a potential liability case walks through a plaintiff attorney's door, one of the first things he finds out, to decide whether or not to take the case, is whether & how much insurance the potential defendant(s) have.

But in any event, the OP, being an individual and a physician, may find the "uninsured" approach to be impractical to him: he doesn't want to lose his house or have his future earnings garnished (if he's in a state that permits wage garnishment to satisfy a civil judgment; not all states do).


(This post was edited by Andy9o8 on Nov 30, 2011, 6:11 AM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 30, 2011, 6:11 AM
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Re: [Andy9o8] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

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don't insure, and don't have substantial assets, thereby presenting a much less attractive target

When I said that the LLC idea had 'proven' to be less than effective, it was in reference to a TI who had an LLC who got sued, and this guy had no assets to speak of.

I think the bigger consideration here is that the pay a TI can expect, and the liability of even defeneding a baseless lawsuit, just don't add up. If you look at it from a risk/reward perspective, if you make $35/jump and as a weekend TI you end up doing 250 tandems a season, you're looking at less than $9000/year. Consider that the above instructor spent in excess of $30,000 defending himself against a suit that was ultimately dropped, it just doesn't add up.

At the end of the day, the pay a TI can expect doesn't even justify the risk of defending a baseless lawsuit, let alone the risk of losing and have a judgement brought against you.


Andy9o8  (D License)

Nov 30, 2011, 6:15 AM
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Re: [davelepka] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
don't insure, and don't have substantial assets, thereby presenting a much less attractive target

When I said that the LLC idea had 'proven' to be less than effective, it was in reference to a TI who had an LLC who got sued, and this guy had no assets to speak of.

I think the bigger consideration here is that the pay a TI can expect, and the liability of even defeneding a baseless lawsuit, just don't add up. If you look at it from a risk/reward perspective, if you make $35/jump and as a weekend TI you end up doing 250 tandems a season, you're looking at less than $9000/year. Consider that the above instructor spent in excess of $30,000 defending himself against a suit that was ultimately dropped, it just doesn't add up.

At the end of the day, the pay a TI can expect doesn't even justify the risk of defending a baseless lawsuit, let alone the risk of losing and have a judgement brought against you.

Yeah, I can't argue with any of that, Dave. For some people, it's why they choose not to be TIs.


pete2005

Nov 30, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Re: [bigorangemd] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi

Here is my story . I ve done 2200 tandems and i have 1 pax injury .He didnt lift the legs up when i told him to.And now I and DZ owner have been sued for 24k euros.Not sure if insurance company will cover it . I have to wait next 2 months to see what the judge will say .But i start thinking about give up doing tandems after all is just not worth the money you earn.


AndyMan  (D 25698)

Nov 30, 2011, 12:46 PM
Post #18 of 52 (2124 views)
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Re: [Andy9o8] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Yeah, I can't argue with any of that, Dave. For some people, it's why they choose not to be TIs.

It's a big reason why I don't use my TM rating. The OP might consider some of the other things I do for fun:

1 - AFF. Far more rewarding than tandems for people who are skydiving for reasons other than income. 1, you actually get to help people learn the sport rather than "just give a carnival ride". 2, while the liability risk is still there, I generally assume it to be much less since you're working with people who have a better understanding of risk that they're undertaking.

2 - Rigging. Not nearly as rewarding as AFF, but there's more cash flow if you care about that. Again, still some risk, but you can limit it by choosing your clients. Rigging for your friends is very different than rigging for the DZ student gear.

_Am


wildcard451  (D License)

Nov 30, 2011, 1:39 PM
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Re: [pete2005] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hi

Here is my story . I ve done 2200 tandems and i have 1 pax injury .He didnt lift the legs up when i told him to.And now I and DZ owner have been sued for 24k euros.Not sure if insurance company will cover it . I have to wait next 2 months to see what the judge will say .But i start thinking about give up doing tandems after all is just not worth the money you earn.

See? THAT shit. Not even remotely worth hauling meat. As long as you can be sued by some sack of meat over their own stupidity....makes me sick.


Premier Remster  (C License)

Nov 30, 2011, 2:47 PM
Post #20 of 52 (2112 views)
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Re: [wildcard451] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Hi

Here is my story . I ve done 2200 tandems and i have 1 pax injury .He didnt lift the legs up when i told him to.And now I and DZ owner have been sued for 24k euros.Not sure if insurance company will cover it . I have to wait next 2 months to see what the judge will say .But i start thinking about give up doing tandems after all is just not worth the money you earn.

See? THAT shit. Not even remotely worth hauling meat. As long as you can be sued by some sack of meat over their own stupidity....makes me sick.

And that's not even in sue-happy America... Unsure


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 30, 2011, 8:09 PM
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Re: [pete2005] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I ve done 2200 tandems and i have 1 pax injury .He didnt lift the legs up when i told him to.And now I and DZ owner have been sued for 24k euros

That sucks, and I hope it works out in your favor.

In the US, that money would just cover your legal bills, the actual lawsuit would be for 10 times that amount. You'll spend that on a laywer even if you win the case and the pax gets nothing.


Rstanley0312  (D 31900)

Nov 30, 2011, 8:12 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

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Quote:
don't insure, and don't have substantial assets, thereby presenting a much less attractive target

When I said that the LLC idea had 'proven' to be less than effective, it was in reference to a TI who had an LLC who got sued, and this guy had no assets to speak of.

I think the bigger consideration here is that the pay a TI can expect, and the liability of even defeneding a baseless lawsuit, just don't add up. If you look at it from a risk/reward perspective, if you make $35/jump and as a weekend TI you end up doing 250 tandems a season, you're looking at less than $9000/year. Consider that the above instructor spent in excess of $30,000 defending himself against a suit that was ultimately dropped, it just doesn't add up.

At the end of the day, the pay a TI can expect doesn't even justify the risk of defending a baseless lawsuit, let alone the risk of losing and have a judgement brought against you.

I forgot to add the LLC bit. I would have prepaid legal and operate within an LLC. Legal taken care of if needed and liability is restricted if, as mentioned above, the TI operates within the parameters of their LLC. You can also layer a couple of LLC's and pass through the money so you have a few layers of protection along with the prepaid. I've been sued a few times and this is how I do it and it has protected me.

A wise mentor once told me..... "you haven't made it in business until you have been sued"


davelepka  (D 21448)

Nov 30, 2011, 8:30 PM
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Re: [Rstanley0312] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

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A wise mentor once told me..... "you haven't made it in business until you have been sued"

Which business is that? Not skydiving, for sure.

The problem with being sued for skydiving is that it's almost always personal injury or wrongful death, and that's expensive.

If you have a business deal go bad, the judgement rarely exceeds the value of the deal. There may be some slight punitive damages, but more times than not, the plantiff is 'made whole' and that's the end of it.

If you injure or kill someone, that's another story. An injury case is a bitch because you start off with every penny of their outrageous medical bills, followed by the punitive damages for their pain and suffering. If you kill someone, the damages for the familes pain and suffering alone is enough to casue you pain and suffering.

What this means is a potentially big judgement, and plantiffs lawyers willing to work the case ad nauseum to get their cut said judgement, which leads to your lawyer working their ass off (billing your ass off) fighting the case.

In a bad business deal, the value of the deal is commensurate with the business you're in, so the judgement should be easy for you to swallow. In a bad skydiving deal (an incident) the value of the jump ($30) is nothing like the money you're going to spend simply defending yourself and winning. If you lose, the difference between the money you made and the money you lost is literally 1,000-fold or more.

At the end of the day, the laibility just doesn't add up. Some guys are OK with the risk, but if you're not that kind of guy, being a TI just isn't the business for you.


Rstanley0312  (D 31900)

Nov 30, 2011, 9:13 PM
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Re: [davelepka] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
A wise mentor once told me..... "you haven't made it in business until you have been sued"

Which business is that? Not skydiving, for sure.

The problem with being sued for skydiving is that it's almost always personal injury or wrongful death, and that's expensive.

If you have a business deal go bad, the judgement rarely exceeds the value of the deal. There may be some slight punitive damages, but more times than not, the plantiff is 'made whole' and that's the end of it.

If you injure or kill someone, that's another story. An injury case is a bitch because you start off with every penny of their outrageous medical bills, followed by the punitive damages for their pain and suffering. If you kill someone, the damages for the familes pain and suffering alone is enough to casue you pain and suffering.

What this means is a potentially big judgement, and plantiffs lawyers willing to work the case ad nauseum to get their cut said judgement, which leads to your lawyer working their ass off (billing your ass off) fighting the case.

In a bad business deal, the value of the deal is commensurate with the business you're in, so the judgement should be easy for you to swallow. In a bad skydiving deal (an incident) the value of the jump ($30) is nothing like the money you're going to spend simply defending yourself and winning. If you lose, the difference between the money you made and the money you lost is literally 1,000-fold or more.

At the end of the day, the laibility just doesn't add up. Some guys are OK with the risk, but if you're not that kind of guy, being a TI just isn't the business for you.

Dave I was not referencing skydiving, rather my mentor was no as he is a whuffo. Just tossed that out there bc I always liked it. As for the liability of being a TI..... although not bullet proof I still like the model I proposed. I will set it up that way when I get my AFF rating.


DrewEckhardt  (D 28461)

Dec 1, 2011, 2:04 PM
Post #25 of 52 (2007 views)
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Re: [AndyMan] Liability insurance [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
2 - Rigging. Not nearly as rewarding as AFF, but there's more cash flow if you care about that. Again, still some risk, but you can limit it by choosing your clients. Rigging for your friends is very different than rigging for the DZ student gear.

What about subrogation?

Although I wouldn't sue you, my health insurance company has the right to pursue potentially liable parties to recover their costs and might do so after paying off a six figure claim.

For something like a bad landing that seems unlikely to go anywhere "I made a bad parachute landing on public property" (and nobody else could possibly be at fault) but things may be more ambiguous with equipment malfunctions.


(This post was edited by DrewEckhardt on Dec 1, 2011, 2:07 PM)


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