Discussion of aircraft design, new designs and designing your own

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Post by Marcush » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:00 pm

I have a basic question regarding liability. If I build an aircraft and later sell it after a few years when I decide I want something better/Faster or heaven forbid I lost my medical, am I liable if someone was to crash it in years to come?
Mark Appleby

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Re: Liability

Post by 028098 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:32 am

I think the insurers would say yes along with the inspectors etc etc

They are looking for someone else to pay.

For example, we had dedicated travel insurance for a holiday which we had to cancel last minute (long story zzz...) and the travel insurers wanted to know if we had insurance from one of our banks (included in an account package) as that insurance would be liable, not theirs!

In reality, I think someone would be hard pushed to make it stick but you would have to spend a decent amount of cash to defend the case first.
Martin Brigden-Gwinnutt

Nigel Kerr
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Re: Liability

Post by Nigel Kerr » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:19 pm

Provided you had adequate Public Liability policy cover from a reputable insurer to cover the legal defence costs of any claim there shouldn't be too much to fear..unless you were negligent of course - and that has to be proven (and defended against). The cover could be quite expensive though, underwriters have to buy houses, put their kids through college and go on super-holidays of course - only joking, in the UK it's the Lloyd's 'names' that do that. The poor claims underwriters just sit there and wonder if the marketing guys ever bothered to analyse the risk.

Ian Melville
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Re: Liability

Post by Ian Melville » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:05 am

Marcush, I have yet to find a definitive answer to this.
Firstly, lets not confuse the US liability with the UK. From LAA document TL1.08
Nobody likes to hear criticism of their design, especially when it flies quite satisfactorily
under the auspices of their own country’s airworthiness system. However by
recommending that an aircraft be issued a Permit to Fly, the LAA take on a significant
liability (a liability which, in the Experimental Category, is borne mainly by the
builder/owner) and we naturally have to apply a rigorous and critical approach.
In the US many builders scrap aircraft rather than sell due to the liability resting solely with them. Few are still sold, yet no one seems to be able to quote a case where a builder has been sued by a new owner. Here, providing you build and maintain as agreed with the LAA(and inspector) then you have little to fear.

This the very reason why it is more difficult to get a Mod or a design approved through the LAA system. LAA Engineering have to protect the whole of the LAA from liability claims, otherwise the whole LAA Permit system will come tumbling down.
Ian Melville

Nigel Kerr
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Re: Liability

Post by Nigel Kerr » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:25 pm

Fascinating Ian.

Once upon a time a 'waiver' could be signed by the purchaser of an aircraft to show that they accepted the risk and no liability would attach to the builder (obviously only after the purchaser had the aircraft thoroughly inspected and had satisfied himself and his engineer that the aircraft was sound). While the purchaser / builder would be happy with the arrangement if anything untoward did occur it would be the purchaser's estate suing the builder - and the waiver wouldn't stand up in court.

It is the fear of the proof of negligence being upheld against the LAA (and by default the CAA as the umbrella organisation - unless they have a 'hold harmless' clause) which drives the LAA's design and modification acceptance criteria - well that's how I read it. By extension it would seem to be the lawyers and professional indemnity underwriters that allow the LAA to make the (hopefully) correct decisions - hence the cautiousness.

I'm probably wrong though.

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