Do we need more coverage as pilots?

Tarzan

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Since the US Air plane made it's big splash, I keep seeing little article pop up here and there. This is the latest I've seen:
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-01-26-us-airways-river-crash_N.htm

How long before they decide to start going after the flight crew? In today's age of Gimme, you have to wonder if the company will assist in the legal action. Will ALPA be there for a long and bloody civil case? I just find it concerning that me fellow crew members, company and I could be hauled through a process that could have far consequences over something I had no control over. How do you plan for that possibility?

On a side note, I hope that if there is a class action brought against US Air, the judge tells them all to pound to sand.
 

ex j-41

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If i was the judge i would tell the pax to sue the birds, but they died so end of story. Get back to work.
 

siucavflight

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Joe Hart, a salesman from Charlotte who suffered a bloody nose and bruises, says he "would like to be made whole for the incident."
Like to be made whole? WTF?
 

PBRstreetgang

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Like to be made whole? WTF?
Joe's wife casterated him in the divorce, since he survived by sitting in his seat in the back and stood on the wing in cold weather, he feels like he should get his nuts back. Never mind he stepped on the backs of two pregnant women and 3 children rushing to the emergency exit. Wadda phag!
PBR
 

COOPERVANE

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I sent that article to several friends and said "can you believe this? last week everyone was sooooo glad just to be alive. Time has past and now they want to be "whole""

Mind you, I didn't send this to any of my lawyer friends, we don't discuss such things because it always ends in an argument. I didn't send it to the couple of tree hugging liberal friends I have.

2 or 3 responded that they would sue for emotional distress.

Is this really what our country has become?

lottery mentality and no ethics
 

ualdriver

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Since the US Air plane made it's big splash, I keep seeing little article pop up here and there. This is the latest I've seen:
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-01-26-us-airways-river-crash_N.htm

How long before they decide to start going after the flight crew? In today's age of Gimme, you have to wonder if the company will assist in the legal action. Will ALPA be there for a long and bloody civil case? I just find it concerning that me fellow crew members, company and I could be hauled through a process that could have far consequences over something I had no control over. How do you plan for that possibility?

On a side note, I hope that if there is a class action brought against US Air, the judge tells them all to pound to sand.
I think it's a very valid concern and a concern that I share. In fact, I think the AMR pilots in the Cali crash had their estates sued but I don't think anything came of it (luckily for them). The lawyers representing the victims will hopefully go after the deep pockets (the airline), but who's to say they just won't throw you and your Captain/Co-pilot/Bunkee in with the pot?

As far as planning for it, I don't think there are very many options. If you're a guy flying a 200 passenger airplane, what do you do? Do you buy liability insurance for 1 billion dollars, assuming that each passenger might sue you or your estate for 5 million each if you're found at fault in a fatal accident? 5 million per passenger might not even be enough! No matter what each human life lost is "worth" in the eyes of the law, how much is that insurance going to cost a pilot?

One of the other options is to structure your assets in such a way so that nothing is in your name. If you're married, for example, all of your major accounts could be in your wife's name or perhaps placed into a trust. But the downside is, what if you get divorced?! Or what if your wife herself is personally sued? You'd have to obviously consult a lawyer about this kind of stuff and it may or may not be 100% effective.

I've read on various financial forums that guys with "high risk" sue-happy professions (like obstetricians or the doctors that read mammograms) structure the ownership of their assets so that there is some legal "built-in" resistance to lawsuits. For example, depending upon your state law's, IRA's, 401k's, and/or pensions may be immune from judgments against you and your estate. That's why OJ got to walk around with pocket money after he lost his civil suit- they couldn't legally touch his pension. Annuities can also fall under this type of protection, and it's pretty easy for a pilot to invest in this type of insurance/investment. Unfortunately, however, most are pretty expensive (relative to what we normally can invest in) and limit your investment options. Some guys build fancy houses in states with homestead exemptions, which can provide protection from creditors- Florida and Texas come to mind.

If you're interested in asset protection, here are some good places to start:

This book is often recommended when I read on financial forums about asset protection. I haven't read it so I haven't a clue if it's good or not.

This website is associated with the book and has some decent links. It also has a state by state list of assets that are protected against judgments. I know, however, that some of the state info is not current so you might want to use it just as a guideline.

Here's another website and a forum. You have to keep in mind when you read forums like this that some posters are looking for illegal ways to hide wealth, so take some posts with a grain of salt, unless you want to end up in jail with a new wife/cellmate :)

Good luck.
 

rickair7777

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Since the US Air plane made it's big splash, I keep seeing little article pop up here and there. This is the latest I've seen:
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-01-26-us-airways-river-crash_N.htm

How long before they decide to start going after the flight crew? In today's age of Gimme, you have to wonder if the company will assist in the legal action. Will ALPA be there for a long and bloody civil case? I just find it concerning that me fellow crew members, company and I could be hauled through a process that could have far consequences over something I had no control over. How do you plan for that possibility?

On a side note, I hope that if there is a class action brought against US Air, the judge tells them all to pound to sand.

You will most likely get sued in any accident. A lawyer has little reason not to sue and every reason to do so....

By suing you, he gets to do discovery, where he can subpoena potential evidence and depose you. Also, he gets to look at your finances to see what you have...who knows you might be independently wealthy. In some states he can freeze your finances so that you cannot hide your assets, or you may be required to post a bond.

Since there is simply no way a pilot could afford liability insurance of that magnitude, all you can do is cooperate with the company and hope they provide a common legal defense. They will almost certainly do this...they are the deep pockets, and if they hang the crew out to dry, your testimony might be flavored to their disadvantage.

Bottom line...try not to crash.

Sully and Co. might actually dodge this bullet...this is a very rare situation where public perception of that guy is so favorable that suing him might actually piss off the jurors and color their judgment against the plaintiff. I think the airline, the FAA, the airport authority, the rescuers, and the birds will be getting sued for sure though.
 

ex j-41

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Those people should be giving the Captain 10% of their pay checks for the next 30 years. This event made each and every one of them feel alive once again and refresh the fact that we take everyday life for granted. They should pay US Airways for the lesson learned.

Maybe we should start a fund to give to the crew to counter sue each and every person that tries to pursue a lawsuit.
 

Amish RakeFight

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A story like that really gets my goat. The media is salivating over the "mourning period," anxiously awaiting to close in on 1549. Absolutely disgusting.
 

Max Powers

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I sent that article to several friends and said "can you believe this? last week everyone was sooooo glad just to be alive. Time has past and now they want to be "whole""

Mind you, I didn't send this to any of my lawyer friends, we don't discuss such things because it always ends in an argument. I didn't send it to the couple of tree hugging liberal friends I have.

2 or 3 responded that they would sue for emotional distress.

Is this really what our country has become?

lottery mentality and no ethics
I'm an attorney and a Liberal. And your stereotyping is silly. The only attorney who would represent a fool; that would sue a company that saved their life is a Rush Limbaugh Sean Hannity loving neoconservative attorney fool. Those are the same guys that would sell their mother down the river to see to it that Bush is seen as a savior and they can pay for their rims on their new SUV.
 

ualdriver

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I'm an attorney and a Liberal. And your stereotyping is silly. The only attorney who would represent a fool; that would sue a company that saved their life is a Rush Limbaugh Sean Hannity loving neoconservative attorney fool. Those are the same guys that would sell their mother down the river to see to it that Bush is seen as a savior and they can pay for their rims on their new SUV.
If you are an attorney, could you comment on what your opinion is concerning a pilot's estate being possibly included in a lawsuit involving an aircraft accident? I realize that may be outside the realm of the type of law you currently practice, but I'd be curious if you had an educated opinion on the matter.
 

Amish RakeFight

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If you are an attorney, could you comment on what your opinion is concerning a pilot's estate being possibly included in a lawsuit involving an aircraft accident? I realize that may be outside the realm of the type of law you currently practice, but I'd be curious if you had an educated opinion on the matter.
Look into an Umbrella Policy. My old man had one.
 

ualdriver

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Look into an Umbrella Policy. My old man had one.
I was looking for something from a legal standpoint in the aftermath of a major aircraft accident. An umbrella policy that covers a pilot for a million or two ain't gonna cut it.
 
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JustaNumber

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And I thought this was a thread about that Pinnacle pilot running around in the woods...
 

Salukipilot4590

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I was looking for something from a legal standpoint in the aftermath of a major aircraft accident. An umbrella policy that covers a pilot for a million or two ain't gonna cut it.
Exactly...you'd need to budget for 2.2mil per passenger.
 

ArcticFlier

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I'm an attorney and a Liberal. And your stereotyping is silly. The only attorney who would represent a fool; that would sue a company that saved their life is a Rush Limbaugh Sean Hannity loving neoconservative attorney fool. Those are the same guys that would sell their mother down the river to see to it that Bush is seen as a savior and they can pay for their rims on their new SUV.
Yeah........................................whatever.
 

siucavflight

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I'm an attorney and a Liberal. And your stereotyping is silly. The only attorney who would represent a fool; that would sue a company that saved their life is a Rush Limbaugh Sean Hannity loving neoconservative attorney fool. Those are the same guys that would sell their mother down the river to see to it that Bush is seen as a savior and they can pay for their rims on their new SUV.
I could be wrong but the ACLU is generally consider as a liberal origination and they are pretty sue happy.
 
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