paranoia and magnetic signs - Posted by jenv

Posted by jenv on July 28, 2003 at 15:26:58:

What do you mean by “other relationship”?

Merely getting sued isn’t the whole story. The other question is whether my general liability policy would pay for the defense, since I wouldn’t have paid for a business auto policy.

Why would the plaintiff bother with a distraction theory? Doesn’t the mere fact that they’re supposedly my employee, if believed by the judge (personally, I see juries as too much of a crapshoot), create sufficient liability?

paranoia and magnetic signs - Posted by jenv

Posted by jenv on July 28, 2003 at 04:48:01:

Suppose I get a few friends or casual acquaintances to put magnetic signs on their cars with the promise I’d pay them a finder’s fee if I bought any properties from such advertising. I think of them as a fleet of independent advertising contractors, but one day they cause an accident and the other party sues my company, claiming that while they had the signs on their cars they were really my employees acting under my direction, making my company liable. Is this too paranoid? Should I rethink this advertising strategy?

Ind. Contractor vs. Employee - Posted by John Merchant

Posted by John Merchant on August 02, 2003 at 14:41:43:

You aren’t liable for what independent contractors might do for you. Whereas you surely would be liable for what an employee does for you.

The legal test is whether the person is under your control. Since of course none of those folk would be, they would not be your employees*.

Just be careful NOT to have any agreements with them that, in any way, give YOU any control over how, when, where, how often, etc. they do their advertising.

I had a lawsuit once where a trucking company had their lawyer do a written contract and the lawyer (an otherwise very able guy) had drafted a contract a written contract that my client’s deceased Husband had signed, agreeing to drive a truck for the trucking company.

The written K had spelled out and included every possible kind of control, so it basically made the truck co. an employer and the decedent an employee! Not intentionally done by the lawyer! And certainly NOT what the truck co. wanted!

While driving it, he was killed. The widow hired me to collect on the truck co’.s workers comp. When I sued on the WC, the insurance co. lawyer alleged my decedent was an Ind. Contractor, not an employee.

When I unearthed the written contract, it destroyed the Ind. C’or theory, and the WC insurance co. quickly paid the claim.

*Unless the state where the person is performing his services has enacted some kind of special legislation stating that an advertiser like your friends, ARE thereby becoming your employees. Could have happened, so just advise you to check it out. And be aware, that if the advertising is done in another state, that state’s laws could be pertinent also.

Re: paranoia and magnetic signs - Posted by JHyre in Ohio

Posted by JHyre in Ohio on July 28, 2003 at 14:01:34:

As long as the people are just advertising and you clearly have no control or other relationship with them (not on paper and not in fact), I think the chances of being found liable are pretty slim. Doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t get sued, just that you probably would prevail. I’d ask around to see if anyone in your state has ever been found liable for creating a distraction (billboards?) that was alleged to have caused an accident.

John Hyre