Am I liable? (Insurance)

aviatorrbt

New Member
Hey everyone. I know this may sound like a dumb question, but I need an answer. This is the layout of my situation. I am a non-commercial pilot that works at an FBO as a lineman. I have been going on flights with a friend of mine in a Pilatus that flies only Part 91, sitting in the right seat.

A respected person from the company said that I need to discuss the situation with the owner because he believes the company I work for might be liable if the plane were to have an accident. I guess his idea comes from the fact that the same company was sued a while back because of a mishap with one of their old flight instructors being in an accident while flying another plane for a different company or individual. This instructor quit but I guess he was still legally working at the FBO because the paperwork was not official or something. (?) Anyways, the FBO lost the suit. He believes I/my company may be liable because I am a pilot who is flying with a different company.

I think this is incorrect as would any person glancing at the situation. However, being young and not knowing much about legal aspects, is there anyway that this may be true? By me going with on the Pilatus trips, is it not the same thing as me going on a flight with one of my friends in his C172? If I am not getting paid as an pilot employee for this company, there should be no connection between the two companies. Right?

Thank you for your time.
 

skydog

New Member
If you're really concerned about this you can do one of two things: 1) stop going on flights, or 2) check with an attorney.
 

Barty

Well-Known Member
You would think so, but in today's lawsuit lottery, motion them to death until they settle legal environment, there is no telling what may happen if someone were to catch wind that you worked for such and such FBO, even if it was just a pleasure flight. Just a couple of months ago in the AOPA Pilot there was a story where the organizer of an event (a charity, for that matter!) that was going on at the same airport where this guy took someone up for a flight, got named as a defendant in a wrongful death suit. Some of these attorneys have absolutely no shame and are doing nothing but going after whomever they can find that has deep pockets or an insurance company who will settle rather than drag it out in court. Scum doesn't even begin to describe these kinds of "people".

If these are for-hire flights, you would need to just make sure that it is clear that you are nothing but a passenger. If you have ANY logged time from dead-head flights, etc. (you CAN log the time with a PPL in this aircraft, it doesn't require a type-rating from what I can tell) you may very well want to consult with an aviation attorney to see what your employer's exposure might be if someone gets ahold of your logbooks as part of the aftermath of an accident in this airplane. At the very least, it may be worth the money to buy a non-owned aircraft liability policy that would at least put an additional layer between a lawyer and your employer if something were to happen with you at the controls.
 

L-16B

Well-Known Member
You would think so, but in today's lawsuit lottery, motion them to death until they settle legal environment, there is no telling what may happen if someone were to catch wind that you worked for such and such FBO, even if it was just a pleasure flight. Just a couple of months ago in the AOPA Pilot there was a story where the organizer of an event (a charity, for that matter!) that was going on at the same airport where this guy took someone up for a flight, got named as a defendant in a wrongful death suit. Some of these attorneys have absolutely no shame and are doing nothing but going after whomever they can find that has deep pockets or an insurance company who will settle rather than drag it out in court. Scum doesn't even begin to describe these kinds of "people".

If these are for-hire flights, you would need to just make sure that it is clear that you are nothing but a passenger. If you have ANY logged time from dead-head flights, etc. (you CAN log the time with a PPL in this aircraft, it doesn't require a type-rating from what I can tell) you may very well want to consult with an aviation attorney to see what your employer's exposure might be if someone gets ahold of your logbooks as part of the aftermath of an accident in this airplane. At the very least, it may be worth the money to buy a non-owned aircraft liability policy that would at least put an additional layer between a lawyer and your employer if something were to happen with you at the controls.

Annoy a Liberal - Work hard and be happy

That's one of the funniest thing's I've ever seen! :rawk:
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
At the very least, it may be worth the money to buy a non-owned aircraft liability policy that would at least put an additional layer between a lawyer and your employer if something were to happen with you at the controls.
This is sort of similar to a situation I've been looking at. I'd like to rent aircraft for business travel, but my company won't allow it because of insurance issues. If I'm on business, and something goes wrong, they could be sued to the gills. I discovered through AOPA that the key to that is having my company on my renter's policy as a "named insured", and set the policy limits to equate or exceed the corporate insurance policy. That covers them if something goes horribly wrong.

I imagine something similar could be worked out for you. I would consider talking to an insurance company and/or AOPA about your specific situation - they won't charge you for the advice. An attorney might, although it could very well be money well-spent.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
This is sort of similar to a situation I've been looking at. I'd like to rent aircraft for business travel, but my company won't allow it because of insurance issues. If I'm on business, and something goes wrong, they could be sued to the gills. I discovered through AOPA that the key to that is having my company on my renter's policy as a "named insured", and set the policy limits to equate or exceed the corporate insurance policy. That covers them if something goes horribly wrong.
Might not satisfy your employer. Naming the company as an insured might help with liability to others in the case of an accident, and even then, it's doubtful that you can purchase a renter policy that would get anywhere near what the company would require.

On top of that, the company will be worried about workers compensation issues - its financial responsibility to you and your family in case of an accident - something that is not based on anything being anybody's fault and which would not be covered by any aviation renter (or even owner) policy I'm familiar with.

On the OP,
the same company was sued a while back because of a mishap with one of their old flight instructors being in an accident while flying another plane for a different company or individual. This instructor quit but I guess he was still legally working at the FBO because the paperwork was not official or something. (?) Anyways, the FBO lost the suit.
There's not enough information to even guess at an answer, but unless there's a lot more to it, offhand it sounds like someone making a complicated situation simple, with the typical inaccurate result.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
Might not satisfy your employer. Naming the company as an insured might help with liability to others in the case of an accident, and even then, it's doubtful that you can purchase a renter policy that would get anywhere near what the company would require.

On top of that, the company will be worried about workers compensation issues - its financial responsibility to you and your family in case of an accident - something that is not based on anything being anybody's fault and which would not be covered by any aviation renter (or even owner) policy I'm familiar with.
Not sure. I was just about to pitch the whole concept to our CFO when we ended up without a CFO. A few months later, we get a new CFO. So I want to pitch it to her. The way I see it, it's just a different form of transportation - I'd be covered if I was driving my own car, for example, or renting one. The question is the premiums, I suppose.

In any case, we'll see what happens.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
Not sure. I was just about to pitch the whole concept to our CFO when we ended up without a CFO. A few months later, we get a new CFO. So I want to pitch it to her. The way I see it, it's just a different form of transportation - I'd be covered if I was driving my own car, for example, or renting one. The question is the premiums, I suppose.

In any case, we'll see what happens.
Good luck. I see it as you do, but your employer and the insurance contract might not. Just be aware of the problem when you pitch it.
 
Top