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Ask a Lawyer

Joined
Jul 8, 2022
Messages
19
Likes
12
Location
Toronto, ON
I've noticed several posts recently about legal issues like liability. Some of the advice in the comments has been very sound.

A lot, not so much.

I have absolutely no woodturning knowledge I can contribute to this forum. But I am a lawyer, so here's my offer: ask any woodturning/craft-related legal questions you may have, and I'll answer them as best I can.

Now, the mandatory fine print:
1) I'm a lawyer. I'm not your lawyer. I can answer general (i.e. non-fact specific) questions, and point you in the right direction. I can't give you, personally, legal advice.

2) Unless you say otherwise, my answers will assume that you're in a "generic" common law jurisdiction. Local laws may be very different.

3) I won't even try to answer any questions about trees or property lines, because the rules are hyperlocalized. Call a local lawyer.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2018
Messages
354
Likes
199
Location
Millington, TN
Would you have an umbrella insurance policy ($1M) added to your home insurance before letting any friends use you woodworking equipment like a cabinet saw, bandsaw or large lathe?

Let’s assume no fees are collected. Could you ask your friends to help cover the extra insurance cost without appearing to be running your shop as a business?

Would you also require them to sign a waiver?

Would you do anything else not mentioned here?
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
560
Likes
437
Location
Roulette, PA
Website
www.reallyruralwoodworks.com
Would you also require them to sign a waiver?
Others are good questions, but IMHO, waivers ain't worth the paper they are written on, and in the type of case you mentioned (friends coming by to "borrow" a machine for a while) , might even make something worse, as it could be argued that requiring waiver meant you were aware of the danger, where otherwise one might plead ignorance/unawareness of danger of that particular activity... but that's my non-lawyer opinion (which is also worth what it's written on)

I'd also wonder about advice from a Canadian attorney (I'm making assumptions here, could well be an expat, no idea) in regards to U.S. law.... I'd assume there'd be differences... so Grain of Salt and all that..
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2022
Messages
19
Likes
12
Location
Toronto, ON
Would you have an umbrella insurance policy ($1M) added to your home insurance before letting any friends use you woodworking equipment like a cabinet saw, bandsaw or large lathe?

Let’s assume no fees are collected. Could you ask your friends to help cover the extra insurance cost without appearing to be running your shop as a business?

Would you also require them to sign a waiver?

Would you do anything else not mentioned here?

Most homeowner's insurance policies already include personal liability coverage that covers accidents on your property. Take woodshops out of it. You invite a friend over to watch the super bowl. He trips over an extension cord and breaks his arm. A standard policy should cover you. Where a standard home-owner's policy may not apply is if you are running a business at the home, and the policy says you can't.

I think the most important thing you can do in a situation like that is to train them on how to operate the machines safely, and make sure they're wearing appropriate PPE. Even if they say they're very experienced woodworkers who don't need instruction, teach them how to use your machines. And supervise them. The issue isn't really if they have an accident on your property, but if they have an accident because you were negligent. Giving proper instruction and keeping an eye on them goes a long way to showing that you weren't negligent.

For waivers, general consensus is they often don't help, but they can't hurt.

I'd also wonder about advice from a Canadian attorney (I'm making assumptions here, could well be an expat, no idea) in regards to U.S. law.... I'd assume there'd be differences... so Grain of Salt and all that..

It's always a good idea to take any legal advice (or advice) found on the internet, for free, with a grain of salt. As facts stand, I was trained/and or qualified in the UK, the US (member of the New York Bar) and Canada (Ontario).
 
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