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Liability Revisited

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Old 08-14-2001, 06:56 AM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Location: northwest Indiana, about 45 minutes from Chicago, IL
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Liability Revisited

There are certain things that a restoration artist might be expected to be familiar with, especially if a case went to court. I have been browsing through an old book I have titled "Conservation of Photographs" by Kodak (1985). I did know that daugerrotypes were extremely fragile, and shouldn't be taken out of their frame, but I didn't remember reading about the effect of paints and varnishes on photographs. Latex paint seems to be okay, but newly used oil based paints used in the room where photographs are kept cause concern. Kodak tested 32 different paints, and found that when a room was painted with oil based paint, deterioration of prints followed if the paint had not fully cured. Deterioration was noticeable after 4 days (I think that was the time), and continued deteriorating for a few months or so. It suggested that prints should not be in the room for a few weeks, which would allow the paint to fully cure. The time frames I listed might not be exact, but the point I'm trying to make is that it would be advantageous for the restoration artist to have information of this type available to read from time to time. There are many other factors that are of concern for the safe keeping of photographic materials also.

Now that I've kept you out of jail, I've done my good deed for Tue., Aug. 14.

Ed
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Old 08-14-2001, 08:58 AM
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Ed, INTERESTING info. Thanks. It might be a good idea to tell customers about that as well,. just in case. Tom
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Old 08-14-2001, 09:18 AM
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Ed
Never heard that before but it makes sense.
DJ
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Old 07-31-2004, 04:17 PM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Low cost protection

This might be an old thread but one that needs some attention from time to time! In my opinion anyone working in any profession without insurance today is volunteering for the poor house! Just defending yourself against the threat of a lawsuit can easily cost you a minimum of $7,000 or more. And, don't ever hold yourself out to be an expert if you are not - or you may get to meet the real experts in court. (professional testimony is another part of their income).

Here's one way that you can protect yourself at a reasonable cost. Make up your standard order form to include insurance on any original left in your care and set the limit at something you feel comfortable with.

For example, state it this way ".....any original photograph left in our care will be automatically insured for $200.00 unless otherwise stated." I also believe in putting a time limit on it that states any original photos left with us for more than 30 days after completion are no longer insured.

Nothing will cover you for being negligent but that is very difficult to prove and this will go along way toward limiting your liability. If you set the amount at $20.00 or $200.00, no one is going to leave you a Curtis Orotone or some other truly precious item. And, if someone tells you that would not be enough to cover their loss in the event that something went wrong , suggest to them that they contact their own insurance agent for additional coverage. In this way you are covered as well as you can be with a minimum insurance outlay and don't have to worry too much about any major loss.

I can't stress too strongly that doing nothing about this can open you up to disaster so don't wait for some dishonest person to claim that you caused some damage (even if you didn't) before you act on limiting your liability.

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators
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Old 07-31-2004, 08:11 PM
Noelf Noelf is offline
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Insurance is a very complicated subject when it comes to photos.

I was talking to my insurance agent about coverage for when I had a photo stored while I was working on it. His point was that except in rare cases there isn't a monetary value attached to something like a family photo.

In the customers mind it would be a priceless object, but in the valuation from a legal standpoint it would be much harder to judge.

I would definitely agree, a statement limiting your liability is the only way to go. I would however be careful personally putting any monetary value on a picture, because that opens everything up for interpretation by the lawyers.

- Noel
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Old 07-31-2004, 08:26 PM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Insurance values

You can't have it both ways - if you want to limit liability, you have to put YOUR limit on it's value. Your agent is not being realistic when he says "there isn't a monetary value ..." - in the event of damage to a clients original in your care, you could be forced to arrive at that number in court and that is what you want to avoid!

As far as obtaining insurance is concerned, call your local historical society and find out who is covering their loan collections. Odds are he or she will be able to write you a policy that will cover items that are in your care. Probably cost you around $300 a year for about $5,000 coverage. There are specialists in every field, I recommend you find one in the insurance industry.

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators
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