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Thread: Liability Options

  1. #1

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    Jul 2014
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    Liability Options

    We recently had a nasty wind storm come through our airport. There was a single aircraft in the transient tie down area that came loose from its tie downs and smashed into the hanger behind it. That hanger collapsed, sending debris towards my hanger which in turn ripped off my hanger door. My aircraft then suffered substantial damage from debris and wind. The rest of the hangers in the airport remained intact. I do not have hull coverage on my aircraft and I'm not clear what my options are. This damage is clearly the indirect result of the aircraft coming loose in the tie downs, but I'm not sure if I can even make a claim against their insurance for this. Can you guys help me out here?

  2. #2

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    If you think your plane would not have been damaged if the tied-down plane had been tied down better or had not been there at all, then why not file a claim on their insurance?

  3. #3

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    According to the registration, the owner is from out of state, and I have not yet seen him at the airport. Is there a way to get his insurance information beyond sending a certified letter to his house? I have also read that a lot of insurance companies cover events related to weather?

  4. #4

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    Maybe the owner of the first hangar hit has already found out?

    It sounds like the transient plane owner would be personally responsible for the damage whether insured or not. If insured, he may have already filed a claim for his hull damage and probably has enough liability coverage for your loss.

    Or, if someone else was involved, that person or his employer might be responsible. If the knot came loose, the person who tied it might be at fault. If the rope broke, the supplier of the rope might be at fault.

    It's interesting how these things get sorted out. It might vary from state to state. Maybe in your state the transient plane owner is at fault for parking there, or maybe he gets off because he tied down properly and the weather is just capricious.

  5. #5
    Airmutt's Avatar
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    I’m not a lawyer but there are enough questions in my mind that I would at least sit down and talk with a tort attorney at minimum. I suspect you’ll need an attorney in the long run. Here’s just some musings

    Was outside tie down parking the only option
    Was the aircraft in an authorized parking area
    who approved or told the owner to park there
    who tied down the aircraft
    who supplied the tie down system
    what method of tied down was used
    was that method of tie down adequate for that type size aircraft and the parking surface
    how did the aircraft get lose - negligence or mechanical failure of the tie down system
    if failure, what failed
    was the event foreseeable
    did the owner have adequate knowledge and time to have taken additional precautions
    do you live in a shared liability state
    who owns the hangars
    were they built and maintained to code
    do the hangar owner(s) have liability insurance
    Dave Shaw
    EAA 67180 Lifetime
    Learn to Build, Build to Fly, Fly for Fun

  6. #6

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    A small airplane blown into a hangar does not usually damage a hangar significantly enough to cause collapse. The wind (local whirlwind ?) must have been a significant factor in the hangar(s) collapse and might be considered an act of God.

  7. #7
    Airmutt's Avatar
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    Bill you could be right, the derecho could be considered an act of God but if I was his attorney I would point out that the other hangars on the field remained intact. I would argue that the plane striking the hangar compromised the hangar’s structural integrity. The derecho did the rest. But it goes back to first cause???
    Dave Shaw
    EAA 67180 Lifetime
    Learn to Build, Build to Fly, Fly for Fun

  8. #8

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    Derecho is widespread. Dust devil or mini tornado will destroy a house and next door nothing.

  9. #9
    Mayhemxpc's Avatar
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    I am not a lawyer, but I note the use of the term, "indirect cause." The direct cause was the debris flying from the damaged hangar. THAT is what caused damage to your hangar and your plane. (Actually, the direct cause was the partial collapse of your own hangar.) But...I will guess that the hangar belongs to the airport and the airport has some qualified immunity. So, because you did not have hull insurance on your plane, you are now looking to pin the costs on the poor guy who lost his own plane. Further, you believe that you can prove negligence on his part, following the line of questions that Dave Shaw provided.

    I think that you would have to prove that the other guy tied down his plane in a negligent manner. That may not be easy.

    Personally, I have always believed that hangar collapse was a risk. Therefore, I have hull insurance that covers that. (Curiously, I found that covering the airplane for hull insurance in a non-flying status -- while I was deployed with the military -- was not a whole lot less than "in-motion" coverage. This may indicate what insurers think about the risk of damage to an airplane while parked in a hangar.)
    Chris Mayer
    N424AF
    www.o2cricket.com

  10. #10

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    Here is a picture of the tie down ropes used. This is why I think I have a claim.
    Last edited by j_omega; 08-18-2020 at 08:36 PM.

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