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Thread: shop liablity release form?
08-25-2009, 03:42 PM #1
shop liablity release form?
does anyone have a standard liablity release form they have guest sign who enter their shop? I am going to host a small class of 6 people on various apects of machining. These folks will be in my home shop. I plan on being next to the machine that is running and they will only be doing simple things like moving the table. It's a "low risk" situation, but in case some dummy sticks thier fingers in the mill, i'd like to be covered.
does anyone have a generic form they would like to share?*
*I understand nothing is bullet proof, but having something is better than nothing.
08-25-2009, 05:26 PM #2
If you have a homeowners insurance policy call your agent and ask this
08-25-2009, 05:32 PM #3
I agree with Ron's response. We allow our shop to be used by the local state University Mechanical Engineering students and asked our insurance company to provide a form for each student to sign to limit our liability with respect to injury while on our premises.
Last edited by motion guru; 08-26-2009 at 07:50 AM.
08-25-2009, 05:50 PM #4
I understand something is better than nothing but around here contacting your insurance company can lead to cancellation.I don't know much about insurance accept it's only good when you don't use it.I have a $100,000 liability policy but they won't insure the actual shop for more than $3,000 and they won't insure tools or equipment at all.I've inquired and they absolutely won't do it.
08-26-2009, 07:48 AM #5
The best advice is to get it from your own independent lawyer. Your situation involves laws of invited guests, of dangerous situations, of release from general liability, and of release from liability for negligence. Such laws are not uniform from state to state. This kind of release can almost always be found on the back of a ski lift ticket and be may be found in connection with other dangerous sport venues. The membership applications of athletic and exercise clubs also have this kind of release language. So if you are intent, despite contrary advice, on copying release language used by someone else, get it from a business with similar liability exposure in your state. If someone were to share a form of release with you, they might be prosecuted for unauthorized practice of law, and this prohibition is uniform from state to state. Further, you would saddle the doner with need for a release from liability to you. So despite your good intentions your request has significant strings attached.
08-26-2009, 10:17 AM #6
08-26-2009, 11:20 AM #7
Now I don't know Ohio and I'm not a lawyer, but here in California the only way to do what you are proposing, and not risk your house, your car, and every cent you'll ever make, is to have the local community college underwrite the venture. See, the lawyers are going to go after the one with the deepest pocket. You want the deepest pocket not to be you. With the local college involved, or trade school, or ???, then they hold the million dollar policy, their name is on the class form, and you are just a temporary employee of the school. There are not a few shops in my area where that is the only way to get on to the property.
It's also general practice in California to have at least a million dollar general liability policy on the property if there are any unusual hazards, such as machine tools, on the property and those areas are open or accessible to the public. This has to be done in concert with the community college thing. The school takes on the specific liability for the class activities and the general liability policy takes on the incidentals like falling in a hole or power wires falling on someones head.
Now maybe in your state there is another way, I kind of doubt it, that is why you need to speak with your lawyer.
What the local rock hounds did is to pool all their equipment and form a club. They got the club sponsored by the local city parks and recreation. That way when someone gets a rock chip in their eye or sticks his finger in the rock saw blade it's the city's headache.
Edit: I'm unable to find a reference to my origin of the legal use of the term 'boiler plate' so don't quote me on that one.
Last edited by starbolin; 08-26-2009 at 11:41 AM. Reason: amended disclaimer
08-26-2009, 01:04 PM #8
"a good injury lawyer would use that paper to show that you were acting in a professional capacity and that you knew the activity to be dangerous." Sorry, but machinery is inherently dangerous--there is no need to prove it. A defense lawyer's objection to any evidence of the released party's knowledge of the danger would be sustained as irrelevant.
"Courts routinely throw out "boiler plate" forms, especially when the text requires the plaintiff to give up rights granted to him under law." I've been litigating for 20 years and I have never seen it happen once. I've tried and failed when I thought justice demanded it.
"To put it plainly, if the law says the injured party is due compensation, due to negligence, for instance, then his scrawl on your form doesn't remove that right from him." Sorry again but that is exactly what it does. Freedom of contract lives. Substantial refinements were developed in the 60's and 70's to give the law a better conscience, but most of them have been eroded in the last three decades. It is illegal to sell your liver, contract or not, but until a legislature says different, it is perfectly legal to give up your right to sue in exchange for permission to do something dangerous.
"It's where the use of the term 'boiler plate' enters the legal language." Actually, boiler plate is language with a precise and definite meaning because it has previously been interpreted in the courts. Some lawyers use it because it is reliable, even if not readable by most of us. You take a chance if you use plain language because some judge may interpret it in an unexpected fashion when there is no precedent he must follow.
08-26-2009, 01:18 PM #9
I see you got lots of advice telling you to get a lawyer, and it probably is good advice to seek an attorney, but no one offered up a form.
So, here is a document I use when I teach or let people use my shop equipment. (It is probably riddled with consequence, but like you said, "something is better than nothing")
PS: The only way I could find to upload the document to this site, was to turn it into a PDF, and then compress it into a .Zip document. I would suggest to open it, download it to your desktop and double-click. My original file format is a Word document. If for some reason you cannot open it, send me your email address and I will send it directly to you.