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Have you ever been sued?

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  #1  
Old 01-25-2011, 02:29 PM
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Have you ever been sued?

When I first started my photo-illustration/retouching business, it was recommended to me that I should purchase commercial insurance to protect myself from liability should anyone ever want to sue me (for some mistake where I am at fault).

In the several years since then, I've paid $450+ per year to protect from this kind of issue should it ever arise.

The thing is, I've never-ever-ever heard of someone in this business having legal action taken against them. I'm thinking of cancelling the insurance policy, but before I do, I thought I'd like to hear some opinions from the RetouchPRO members.

Have any of you freelance-types ever been sued, or held financially liable for a mistake? Whats the story, and what was the outcome?

Thanks,
--Shift Studio.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:14 PM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

What are you expecting to get sued for exactly Shift?
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:22 PM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

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Originally Posted by Markzebra View Post
What are you expecting to get sued for exactly Shift?
Possibly missing a deadline, maybe some technical mistake (although I can't really think what that would be).

I don't really know. I'm hoping to hear if its ever happened to anyone and why.
If everyone thinks its crazy to pay for insurance, I'd like to hear that too.

--Shift Studio.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:38 PM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

Good question Shift. Like you I've been forking out for donkey's years without needing to make a claim. Small Biz insurance in the UK covers you for a £million or so. I have it in case a client breaks his neck on my premises; I used to have it in case I lost a client's transparencies and would have to pay for a reshoot overseas. The UK isn't quite as litigious as North America and I think you'd be unlucky to be sued. However, I do tell bigger clients that I have full cover insurance; no, the creatives couldn't care less but some of the 'suits' who sign the cheques love that sort of thing. And dare you cancel it?
R.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:52 PM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

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Good question Shift. Like you I've been forking out for donkey's years without needing to make a claim. Small Biz insurance in the UK covers you for a £million or so. I have it in case a client breaks his neck on my premises; I used to have it in case I lost a client's transparencies and would have to pay for a reshoot overseas. The UK isn't quite as litigious as North America and I think you'd be unlucky to be sued. However, I do tell bigger clients that I have full cover insurance; no, the creatives couldn't care less but some of the 'suits' who sign the cheques love that sort of thing. And dare you cancel it?
R.
I've never actually told any creatives/clients that I have it. Most of them treat me in a pretty friendly manner, and know and I'm going to do my best for them, but quality work takes time.

Imagine being sued for a fall in my office/home?! Unlikely, but it could happen - boy that would suck.

It was an agency owner that recommended insurance it in the first place - he also told me that guys like me are a 'dime a dozen', and if I wanted to do work for his agency, I'd have to sign on exclusively. I've since realised he said these things to help himself feel superior/dominant/whatever.

okay, more thoughts please - I still don't know if I'd dare
--Shift Studio
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:27 PM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

Use anything to get an edge. It does no harm for them to know their arses are covered should you lose their precious prototype gizmo you've been keeping in your office whilst you retouch the bejaysus out of the launch shots! BTW - don't tell customers where you live and they'll never know where to send the possee!
R.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:02 PM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

I would be less concerned about being late as I would about my dog eating the flash card with the customers only copy of his wedding photos. Language to protect yourself or at least limit your liability should be incorporated into signed contracts / statements of work if you use them, or else on the backside of receipts / claim checks you provide the customer when he hands you his material. I would check the fine print in your insurance contract to see exactly what it covers.
Regards, Murray
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:11 AM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

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Originally Posted by mistermonday View Post
I would be less concerned about being late as I would about my dog eating the flash card with the customers only copy of his wedding photos. Language to protect yourself or at least limit your liability should be incorporated into signed contracts / statements of work if you use them, or else on the backside of receipts / claim checks you provide the customer when he hands you his material. I would check the fine print in your insurance contract to see exactly what it covers.
Regards, Murray
yeah I agree.

I would drop the insurance, and make sure you have terms on your estimates or contracts that would protect you in case someone would be crazy enough to sue you.

As far as someone falling and breaking their neck in your office... maybe you could put grippy rubber all over the floors and padding on all the sharp corners

I'm not sure how tax laws/business licensing work in Canada, but maybe you could incorporate your business- that way it would be its own entity and if someone was to sue you they couldn't go after your personal things outside of your business.
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:00 PM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

Thanks Murray and Janko and Repairman.
I do have some clauses on my estimates and invoices regarding a few things, but certainly not everything. I haven't had people sign contracts, and I've done a lot of work without any face-to-face time. I often get approval just via an email or phone call. It sounds like some pretty risky practises but it does have the benefit of facilitating an easy-going, informal relationship based on time-earned trust. I suppose new clients haven't earned my trust, and for some reason I usually give them the benefit of the doubt. I've been burned big once (by a repeat customer).
In any case I could do with a bit more liability-limiting practises in writing and in operating procedures.

Funny you should mention incorporation, I am already incorporated as my former accountant and others recommended it. BUT I am also thinking of closing down the corporation and reviving the 'sole proprietorship' as I used to operate. This is because I'm paying much much more in accounting fees and not really seeing any of a incorporation's benefits. i.e. I pretty much pay myself a salary, nearly equal to the incorporation's net (after operating costs and income taxes). My new accountant says unless the incorporation is carrying over a large sum of money from year-to-year, its not worth the effort and expense. Anyone care to comment on that?

Thanks again you guys, and also, more please. How do you all operate?
--Shift Studio.
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:53 PM
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Re: Have you ever been sued?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janko View Post

maybe you could put grippy rubber all over the floors and padding on all the sharp corners
- and that could save me from my daily bumps and bruises too!
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