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Being Sued Questions

 
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Old 11-28-2016, 06:01 PM   #1
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Being Sued Questions


Since 2012 I have worked as sub contractor installing handicap bathtubs for a large national company. I have installed hundreds of these tubs for them and am complimented as one if their best installers.
I have my own Liability Insurance and have an S-Corp.
A customer slipped in one of the bathtubs I installed. She is suing. The large company who manufactures, sells, supplies the tubs I install for them is directing the claim to my insurance.
The tubs I've installed for them do not come with a seatbelt. Apparently this customers one should have. I did not know this and was not supplied with one. My insurance are saying it is mentioned in the contract the customer has with the bathtub company.
Now I am being held liable, my insurance says I may not need to worry but it could end up in court and my insurance covers up to a Million.
Any advice?
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Old 11-28-2016, 06:05 PM   #2
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Why didn't you read the contract?

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Old 11-28-2016, 06:26 PM   #3
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Assuming the contract has flow down clauses, you're probably screwed if you didn't ask for their contract. Let you insurance pay out or go bankrupt. Seems to be the typical options.


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Old 11-28-2016, 06:51 PM   #4
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Let your insurance handle it. There is a chance they sue the national companies insurance.

Move on, but with slightly higher prices to cover your coming premium increase. And read through all your contracts now with a high liter in hand...
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:40 PM   #5
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Advise, you may need to find another company to sub for because the one your working for just tossed you under the bus.

The contract with the big time company said install bathtub and seat belt, now what did the contract with big time company and you say.

You did have a contract or work order that stated you will peform this work for this $ amount ?, if not enjoy the view of the underside of the bus and while you are there c/k the oil level in the diff.

The good news for you, your pockets are not as as deep as the big time company

For others reading this get it in writing, we are called contractors for a reason no paper (contract) no defense.
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:51 PM   #6
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Re: Being Sued Questions


You're not getting sued until you get served papers by the Sheriff. If so give them to your insurance co.

In the meantime the aggrieved person's attorney sends a Demand Letter to the mfg. There may or may not be negotiations.

Check with your sherrif's dept, they may have an online listing of civil actions. You can keep an eye on it. Easiest to look up by the person who fell.

Sounds like you have good ins. protection in place.
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Old 11-28-2016, 09:14 PM   #7
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Re: Being Sued Questions


I’m having trouble reading the original post:

• The big company’s tubs don’t have a seatbelt? If they don’t offer a seatbelt how are you liable?
• Your insurance is “saying it is mentioned in the contract”. What is mentioned in the contract? That the company does not offer a seatbelt or that one should be supplied?

I’m a bit lost here
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Old 11-28-2016, 09:42 PM   #8
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Thank you for the replies.
To clarify-the customer has a sales contract with the bathtub company stating the tub would have a seatbelt. She slipped and is trying to make a claim, blaming no seat belt as reason. It's unlikely this is really the cause.
The bathtub company must have passed on my general liability insurance details. My insurers contacted me to notify me of this claim.
None of the hundreds of bathtubs I've installed for this company have ever had seat belts. They send out the tubs and I install them. They sent out the same model of tub that has never had a seatbelt previously. I missed the small handwritten sentence at the bottom of the contract mentioning seatbelt. So I didn't query the fact no seat belt was provided with tub for installation.
It does indeed feel as if I've been thrown under the bus by the bathtub company.
They had recently been taken over and I do not have a contract with them since they changed name/ownership. I just continued to do some bathtub installations for them. Not any more...
Now they are trying to put the liability on me.
I don't believe the customer was seriously injured but did incur a trip to ER.
I guess I am worried about the blame being put on me and if the claim is for over a million then I'd be paying the rest. I don't know what amount she is trying to claim.
Is this unlikely? I feel like I'm worrying more than I should. My business is an S-Corp but I've read that doesn't necessarily protect personal assets.
Thank you.
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Old 11-28-2016, 10:33 PM   #9
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Re: Being Sued Questions


It seems to me you are still a boat load of facts short in the story, i would not worry to much at this time.

How did she slip, geting in the tub geting out?, if this is the case what good is a seat belt ?, she needed a grab rail, if she slipped off the seat while bathing maybe she is some what to blame, use of a tub with out a belt and a high lathering soap, knowing she needed to be buckled in.

You may think if some one needs to be belted in to bathe they would have a care giver on hand.
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Old 11-28-2016, 10:39 PM   #10
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Why did the client use the tub without the seatbelt that she knew she required?

She's probably hoping to have her er trip paid for and maybe 20k in go away money. If she's not paralyzed and she didn't break any bones I think you'll be ok. Insurance might be higher but I doubt it will put you out of business.

I would be stressed as f over this. But I'm a worrier. Best thing to do is to take action over those things you have in your control and let the other chips fall where they may.

New contracts, hire an attorney when push comes to shove, find a new business relationship would be on my to do list. And install a seatbelt in every shower. If they don't want it they have to sign a document to that effect.
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Old 11-28-2016, 11:12 PM   #11
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Re: Being Sued Questions


all the attorneys involved will meet several times for lunch, a few rounds of golf and bill out several thousands of dollars in three minute increments & letters, all the while negotiating a settlement.

quite likely you will never hear anything about it......
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Old 11-28-2016, 11:25 PM   #12
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by griz View Post
all the attorneys involved will meet several times for lunch, a few rounds of golf and bill out several thousands of dollars in three minute increments & letters, all the while negotiating a settlement.

quite likely you will never hear anything about it......
Wow Griz you got me all wrong

When i'm giving advise there no golf involved just a straight fee for each post and this is my third in this thead, of course there is a night time upcharge.


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Old 11-28-2016, 11:27 PM   #13
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by sunkist View Post
Wow Griz you got me all wrong

When i'm giving advise there no golf involved just a straight fee for each post and this is my third in this thead, of course there is a night time upcharge.


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you got to bill in three minute increments.....

maybe tree fiddy per post.....
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:59 AM   #14
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by Loel View Post
Thank you for the replies.
To clarify-the customer has a sales contract with the bathtub company stating the tub would have a seatbelt. She slipped and is trying to make a claim, blaming no seat belt as reason. It's unlikely this is really the cause.
The bathtub company must have passed on my general liability insurance details. My insurers contacted me to notify me of this claim.
None of the hundreds of bathtubs I've installed for this company have ever had seat belts. They send out the tubs and I install them. They sent out the same model of tub that has never had a seatbelt previously. I missed the small handwritten sentence at the bottom of the contract mentioning seatbelt. So I didn't query the fact no seat belt was provided with tub for installation.
It does indeed feel as if I've been thrown under the bus by the bathtub company.
They had recently been taken over and I do not have a contract with them since they changed name/ownership. I just continued to do some bathtub installations for them. Not any more...
Now they are trying to put the liability on me.
I don't believe the customer was seriously injured but did incur a trip to ER.
I guess I am worried about the blame being put on me and if the claim is for over a million then I'd be paying the rest. I don't know what amount she is trying to claim.
Is this unlikely? I feel like I'm worrying more than I should. My business is an S-Corp but I've read that doesn't necessarily protect personal assets.
Thank you.
The insurance company will work it out, but the reason you are on the hook for liability is because you didn't read the installation contract. If it's in the contract that the seat-belt was supposed to be installed, even if there wasn't one provided, it was on you as the installer to contact the original company to get what was needed to fulfill the contract. That's why it's filtered down to you... whether that was the actual reason she slipped and fell, who knows, but it's what she's claiming was the reason and would kinda' be hard to disprove it IMHO...

As to personal assets, unless you're co-mingling work and personal funds (i.e. - paying your home mortgage with a company check for example) much harder to pierce the corporate veil...

Last edited by KAP; 11-29-2016 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:38 AM   #15
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by griz View Post
all the attorneys involved will meet several times for lunch, a few rounds of golf and bill out several thousands of dollars in three minute increments & letters, all the while negotiating a settlement.

quite likely you will never hear anything about it......
Ain't that the truth...
Reminds me when a friend of my was talking on the phone to his lawyer when he was in the divorce proceedings with his wife...
When he called him (I was there in the car) he asked him how was his weekend being this was a Monday... So the lawyer started telling him about his weekend, and everything he did that weekend that took about 30 min and the actual case conversation took about 10 min if that.I said jokingly wait until you get a bill for this, so he was laughing, saying nahhh.

A week later he is asking me "how long did I talk on the phone with my lawyer?" I said about 30-45 min why?, so he goes that fk'er billed me for 2 hrs
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Old 11-29-2016, 09:16 AM   #16
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Re: Being Sued Questions


If you an installer and there is an standard policy or practice that you must go over the contract between the seller (company) and the customer, you should have read the contract and notify the owner that something is missing. You would definitely be liable in this case.

I don't know any installer will have the access to the original deal made between the seller and the owner, installers only follow the work order which company provides them with, or they follow paperwork which comes with the unit.

That being said, if you there should be a list of items delivered that need to be installed. If the seatbelt is part of that list and it wasn't there, you should have brought this up to customer's attention. If the seatbelt is not listed on your work order and it didn't come with this unit, and there is no mention of it anywhere on the paperwork that you have.... you have nothing to worry about.

Not to mention the customer should have said something, that there should be a seat belt that she ordered. I'm sure the work was inspected and signed off on it.

The only time you can be held liable for something : If you missed to do something specified on your WORK ORDER...Like the paperwork you supposed to always follow when doing your installs, whether this being parts list the tub came with, manufacturer specifications which listing that this unit comes with a seatbelt, or there is separate work order for extra items to be installed, etc) and you missed that... They can go after your insurance company.

As I see it from what you said, the deal was made between the company and the buyer, you have no knowledge what is being sold, you only go by what should be installed based on the items that were delivered and paperwork attached.
Therefore if seatbelts not listed on any paperwork that you have to follow and have access too, tell them to kiss your A$$.
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Old 11-29-2016, 09:29 AM   #17
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Re: Being Sued Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by greg24k View Post
As I see it from what you said, the deal was made between the company and the buyer, you have no knowledge what is being sold, you only go by what should be installed based on the items that were delivered and paperwork attached.
Therefore if seatbelts not listed on any paperwork that you have to follow and have access too, tell them to kiss your A$$.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loel View Post
They send out the tubs and I install them. They sent out the same model of tub that has never had a seatbelt previously. I missed the small handwritten sentence at the bottom of the contract mentioning seatbelt. So I didn't query the fact no seat belt was provided with tub for installation.
Sucks, but he's on the hook for this one... a mistake anyone who installs the same product over and over again without an additional product in the mix might have overlooked and "assumed" it was the same... the handwritten part might have been an indicator to read it in a little more detail...

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Old 11-29-2016, 10:57 AM   #18
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Re: Being Sued Questions


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Sucks, but he's on the hook for this one... a mistake anyone who installs the same product over and over again without an additional product in the mix might have overlooked and "assumed" it was the same... the handwritten part might have been an indicator to read it in a little more detail...
I missed that part... Yep he is on the hook.

That being said, I'm sure the lawyers will be all over her for getting into that tub knowing there is no seat belts. Also regardless having a seatbelt or not, she slipped standing up, getting in or out of the tub or she was simply standing in it... I'm sure during that time you do not wear the seatbelt, it is meant to be worn in seated position.

I think it's a fk scam to score and end up with a free tub.

My cousin sells medical supplies... Someone came in and dropped on the floor near a wheelchair and filed a lawsuit saying the chair wasn't secured or some s^*t like that. TG my cousin had a video recorder and everything was on the tape, that saved his a$$ because they were asking 15k.
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:15 PM   #19
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I missed that part... Yep he is on the hook.

That being said, I'm sure the lawyers will be all over her for getting into that tub knowing there is no seat belts. Also regardless having a seatbelt or not, she slipped standing up, getting in or out of the tub or she was simply standing in it... I'm sure during that time you do not wear the seatbelt, it is meant to be worn in seated position.

I think it's a fk scam to score and end up with a free tub.

My cousin sells medical supplies... Someone came in and dropped on the floor near a wheelchair and filed a lawsuit saying the chair wasn't secured or some s^*t like that. TG my cousin had a video recorder and everything was on the tape, that saved his a$$ because they were asking 15k.
Yes indeed. In fact the user manual for that model of tub doesn't even mention a seatbelt. I assume the Sales Guy told the customer incorrectly should could have one to get the 'sale' and that's why it's handwritten in to the contract he writes between the customer and the Bathtub company.
Also, it's almost impossible to fall of the seat, the grab bars are there and it's a small tub with little space to 'fall'.
Geesh what a lot of stress, I do feel she is 'trying it on' for sure.
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Old 11-29-2016, 12:41 PM   #20
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Re: Being Sued Questions


If your contract indicated a seat belt was to be installed you are on the hook for installing the seat belt. I just don't understand if the client knew there was to be a seat belt and didn't notify the company that one was not installed and used the tub regardless, there isn't much of a case. But I am not a litigation lawyer and have the car to prove it.

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