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Farriers/Trimmers, do your clients sign a liability release??

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  • Farriers/Trimmers, do your clients sign a liability release??

    I am just asking because I am curious as to what others have experience with...

    For the 15 years I've been involved with horses, I've only had one farrier. He semi-retired and so is not available anymore. He recommended a local trimmer.

    She came to do a friends horse and before the first trim, she brought out a two page liability release, releasing her from any responsibility in the event that anyone die or become injured while she is on the property. It also released her from responsibility should the horse become injured during or after (either in an accident, or from abcesses, bruising, lameness, etc).

    This is most definitely the first time I've ever dealt with this sort of release, and since she is the only trimmer in the area, I am wondering what protection do the homeowners need for her to be working on her property???

    I've used several different veterinarians and none have asked me to sign a release unless the animal was being sedated. Do I have a right to ask this trimmer if *she* is insured if I am having a horse trimmed?? Thoughts? I'm not well versed or educated in legalities but would like to gain a little knowledge here.

    Thanks.

    Edited title.
    Last edited by 4 barrel; Nov. 13, 2008, 01:04 PM.

  • #2
    I've been involved in the industry for 27years.

    Not once have I ever seen farrier, trimmer, dentist, massage therapist, chiropractor or vet ask ME to sign a release to work on my horses at my facility.

    Run away.. RUN AWAY!

    Comment


    • #3
      Not necessarily.

      Trimmers can have a difficult time getting insurance (unlike farriers). Markel will insure trimmers (or they did) and that IS the only show in town that will.

      It is a litigious society. Without insurance, the release is the only hope for protection a trimmer has.

      Icky? Yes.

      Today's world. Yes.

      If you have not seen it in the past, I bet you will see more of it as alternative treatments gain popularity-they simply are not covered by veterinary, farrier insurance.

      Comment


      • #4
        Absolutely unprofessional.

        And maybe not even enforceable.

        I've seen this from time to time in human medicine. Such "disclaimers" and "releases" were routinely disregarded by courts in suits resulting form alleged professional errors.

        Concur in the advice to "runaway, runaway."

        G.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for the input guys.

          Its really hard finding someone reliable in this area. I was hoping to try this girl but I don't think I will. It made me really uncomfortable hearing her read the release...and I've always felt that any self employed professional should have their own insurance. Not that I intend, or ever would intend, to bring a lawsuit on someone, but it just didn't feel right.

          Comment


          • #6
            just b/c she has a release doesn't mean she doesn't have insurance.

            in fact, it means that she gave it some thought and is probably more likely to have insurance.
            and remember, unfortunately, just b/c you sign a release, doesn't mean you can't sue.
            i'm an attorney, i also trim my own horse and occasionally friends' horses. sounds like a good idea to me.
            http://www.eponashoe.com/
            TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I am thinking of trying one other farrier first. I have heard he's not as reliable but has more experience. He's also farther away so there will be an additional traveling charge. If I become desperate, or this one doesn't work out, I might try the trimmer. We shall see. I would be interested in hearing what other trimmers and farriers do.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's what I think when I'm asked to sign a release..

                Wazzamadder? You're not confident enough in your skills to need a release before hand?
                -------------------
                I *KNOW* that's not what it's meant for, but it's so unusual it makes me think of incompetent newbies damaging things, but hoping they won't be held accountable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                  Wazzamadder? You're not confident enough in your skills to need a release before hand?
                  -------------------
                  I *KNOW* that's not what it's meant for, but it's so unusual it makes me think of incompetent newbies damaging things, but hoping they won't be held accountable.
                  I am a trimmer and I do not have any kind of liability release for people to sign. But if I "did" it wouldn't necessarily mean that it's because I am not confident in my skills. It would mean that animals are huge dangerous animals that tend to do stupid things on ocassion and one of these "episodes" may mean he ends up hurt inadvertently. There's a lot at stake when you have a 1200 pound animal's foot up on a metal stand, cutting on it with sharp instruments. If that horse blows, the knife could slip, or he could get hurt falling off the hoof stand. Or what if you're trimming and he freaks, rears and smashes his head on the ceiling? Anything can happen with horses. Some people just choose to protect themselves with a liability waiver. Other people have insurance and LLCs. And still other people might have both.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's not something I've seen before, but if the trimmer came recommended by someone I trust, I imagine I would still use them. Their lawyer or insurance company might have advised them to use the release regardless of their skill level. I have heard of all sorts of freak accidents that ended in lameness or death of a horse while a farrier was working on them. It's not common but it is possible and that possibility is probably what the trimmer is trying to protect herself against.
                    exploring the relationship between horse and human

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                      Wazzamadder? You're not confident enough in your skills to need a release before hand?
                      -------------------
                      I *KNOW* that's not what it's meant for, but it's so unusual it makes me think of incompetent newbies damaging things, but hoping they won't be held accountable.

                      Do u think that when get other releases in life?
                      Release is standard these days. I also think that many farriers/trimmers don't have insurance or release bc they are either unaware that they should have one or bc they don't want to pay the premium and hope for the best.
                      http://www.eponashoe.com/
                      TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        IMO a person claiming to be a professional who asks me to sign away my rights against them for something they might do in their professional rendering of services screams "incompetant." Or maybe "dishonest" or "fraudulent."

                        A trimmer trims; a shoer shoes. They are not responsible for the horse's behavior during the process. THAT'S the job of the person holding the horse.

                        A trimmer trims; a shoer shoes. They are not responsible for training the horse to stand quietly. THAT'S the job of the owner.

                        A trimmer trims; a shoer shoes. They are not responsible for blowing pieces of paper or loud noises or dogs running around or any of that kind of stuff.

                        A trimmer trims; a shoer shoes. They have a duty to perform these services in accordance with the generally accepted standards of their respective professions.

                        So just what are they asking for a "release" from?

                        I spent well over a decade involved with professional responsiblity claims involving doctors, lawyers, real estate brokers, architects, engineers, and dentists. I've heard all the arguments put forth here. They all fail.

                        Worse, the only way you know if a release/disclaimer works is to get sued. Even if you win it's gonna cost big time to get a favorable decision.

                        Proper insurance is the best thing a professional can do to protect their assets. Not only will the company indemnify someone in the event of a compensable loss, it will provide a defense. That, by itself, is worth a LOT of money.

                        If a professional can't afford appropriate insurance then they can't afford to be out in public performing that service.

                        Further your deponent sayeth not.

                        G.
                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i think you misunderstand the purpose of the release

                          it doesn't waive the releasee's obligation to provide services as required by industry standards. just b/c you have a release doesn't mean you are free to botch the job and/or injure the animal.

                          just like a release in a boarding agreement doesn't mean that the barn owner can get away with having a cigar party in one of the stalls.
                          http://www.eponashoe.com/
                          TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The other option (As I said) was insurance-which is not readily available for trimmers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                              IMO a person claiming to be a professional who asks me to sign away my rights against them for something they might do in their professional rendering of services screams "incompetant." Or maybe "dishonest" or "fraudulent."

                              <snip for space>

                              G.
                              The country that I live in is a highly litigious society. People will sue for ANTYHING if they think they can make some ka-ching along the way. I used to work with a guy who sued the local gas station (and won a boatload of cash!!) because he smashed his finger in their front door and broke it. His pinky finger. He was out of work for weeks and then bragged about how he sued them (and won!) for loss of wages, and pain and suffering. Surely the gas station has insurance. But that didn't stop them from being sued.

                              As I said, I do not have a waiver, but it does not surprise me that some people would. I really have doubts that a release waiver will do you a tremendous amount of good in court, but some people may just like having the extra layer of security.

                              Anybody remember the story flying around the net a couple years ago about a farrier who was sued when the horse slipped off the hoof stand and sliced open a tendon? The horse was eventually euthanized. The story may have been on horseshoes.com, I can't remember. Bad things happen to good people, and some people may just choose to try to protect themselves. It does not make them incompetent hacks.

                              I read another story on a horse board where a horse foundered after receiving vaccinations. But since the trimmer was out the SAME day as the vaccinations, the owner was blaming the trimmer for foundering her horse. She dumped he trimmer and started smearing her reputation all over the net about how she ruined her horse. Well, foundered due to vaccination isn't terribly common, but it does happen. Especially because in this case, the horse received a multi-vaccine, and then West Nile on top of that.

                              ANYTHING can happen that might be out of our control. It does not make us incompetent hacks. It just means that sometimes life's a bitch. Yaknow?

                              And FYI - self-employment general liability insurance for trimmers is hard to get, and VERY expensive due to the risk involved. I contacted many companies who would not insure those active in the horse industry. I have a personal umbrella policy and it provides a modest line of coverage but there are many exceptions and exclusions.

                              Another line of defense is to establish an LLC or an LLP so that if a lawsuit does commence, at least only your business assets will be at risk and not your personal assets as well.

                              As is customary, you will attempt to discredit and trash trimmers every chance you get, and this thread is certainly no exception.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Perhaps I am misunderstanding the reason for the release. Hence my question "So just what are they asking for a "release" from?" I'm still not sure I understand.

                                Some states permit releases for "equine professionals" and some do not. In TN (and GA and KY at a minimum) a notice must be posted. Just how that would work for a traveling professional I'm not sure. Release language is pretty specific.

                                A "general release" would be pretty difficult to draft and, without the benefit of statutory support, would not have any real backing. Releases and disclaimers are not favored by the courts. I'd say they are like paper mache' armor: they might look good, but won't stop much.

                                I don't know what, if any, insurance is available for trimmers. If none is available there are at least three possible reasons: the market is too small or the market is large enough but the risk is so great that it won't support the premium necessary to cover the risk or the risk is so amorphous that nobody can price it.

                                Again, to me, anybody who requires I sign a release has my attention. I don't have too much trouble signing leases for our hunt or riding on private land and such things. If a professional presents me a release it causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. As with all things, YMMV.

                                G.
                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                  If a professional presents me a release it causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. As with all things, YMMV.

                                  G.
                                  Then you do not utilize the services of a professional who requires you sign such a release. Pretty simple!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Auventera Two View Post
                                    Then you do not utilize the services of a professional who requires you sign such a release. Pretty simple!
                                    Indeed I don't. And I encourage others to follow my example.

                                    G.
                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Guilherme View Post


                                      A "general release" would be pretty difficult to draft and, without the benefit of statutory support, would not have any real backing. Releases and disclaimers are not favored by the courts. I'd say they are like paper mache' armor: they might look good, but won't stop much.


                                      G.
                                      so knowing that, what are you concerned about? i just recently signed one at my barn. doesn't mean i'm not going to sue them and doesn't mean that they can cite the release and the court will dismiss my claim. as you said, it's a contract of adhesion, courts will be reluctant to enforce it if it's particularly one sided.
                                      http://www.eponashoe.com/
                                      TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                        Indeed I don't. And I encourage others to follow my example.

                                        G.
                                        Well, I encourage people to do whatever THEY are most comfortable with. Not necessarily what I am most comfortable with.

                                        Comment

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