A Darker Side to Loaning Tools?

December 11th, 2009 by
7 Comments

2LOANINGTOOLS2Thanks to all of you who left comments regarding my recent blog post “Loaning Tools: What’s Your Take?”

That was lively feedback, and you’ve left a lot of food for thought on this topic. Responses ranged from “share and share alike” to “no way, no how, no matter who asks.” Clearly, we have definite opinions on this issue—and some of us have learned hard lessons from loaning stuff out. But, a couple of your comments suggest that there could be a bigger problem with loaning tools than not getting them back in tip-top shape. Chuck V and R Graf suggest that there’s potential tool liability we should be concerned about if someone gets hurt while using our tools. In case you didn’t follow the complete thread, here are their posts:

Chuck V: I heard a recent incident where a tool was “borrowed” by a “friend”, who later got hurt using it. (Two fingers amputated.) Appropriate usage or not, the person loaning the tool out got dragged into a very nasty liability lawsuit. He came out of it without major liabilities, primarily because he did not provide a blade, or chage (sic) for the use of the “borrowed” tool, but still incurred some legal fees, and a wary eye from his homeowners insurance company i.e ” are you running a commerial rental shop?”” Do you loan your tools to lots of people?”” Do you instruct them on the safe use of them?” and lots of time and grief. Ever read the fine print on a tool rental contract? One of the standard lines on most of them is “For use by skilled and knowledgable persons at their own risk”. I asked my layer (sic) about it, and his comment was “no way, no time, no how.”

And this response from R Graf: Remember in the current world even friends will sue, if there is an accident and your tool is involved. If you do not have proper documentation on maintenance and operating instructions or if you loaned the tool without the operator’s manual or possibly with a defect you could be going to court. Think twice, don’t loan.

2LOANINGTOOLS1I shudder at the thought of someone getting hurt as a result of borrowing a tool from me, and I’m sure you do, too. But, being held liable for that injury is equally frightening.

Are there attorneys among us who are willing to shed some light on this darker side of loaning tools? Should we be justifiably concerned about potential litigation? And, what can we do—short of never loaning tools—to safeguard ourselves from lawsuits?

Please post a comment if you have expertise in this area. We’ll all benefit from your knowledge here.

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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7 Responses to “A Darker Side to Loaning Tools?”

  1. Greg says:

    I am not an attorney just a retired police officer (22 years), but I can tell you that there are those who will sue for little or no reason. They will sue when you save their lives so for goodness sake if someone wishes to borrow your tools think twice. I have neighbors who ask for different things and I tell them I will be pleased to help them by utilizing the tool, but I will NOT loan them the tool to use.

    Myself and 2 other officers were sued for saving a diabetic’s liffe for the sum of $100,000.00 each (he had gone into diabetic shock). Had we not acted accordingly the medical doctors said that he would have died.

    Even if you first ask the person if they know how to use the equipment and they disclose that they do you may still be sued. You can supply all the texts you wish…there are evil, lying attorneys in this fair land and they think of one thing and one thing only $$$$$.

    Please keep those sharp tools within of wood workeres.

    This is only my opinion. Please do not live in a box, but protect yourself.

  2. I TOO AM A RETIRED POLICE OFFICER AND THE PUBLIC WILL SUE 4 ANYTHING. ITS UNFORTUNATE THAT WE NOW HAVE 2 CONSIDER QUESTIONING OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS B4 WE DO THEM A “FAVOR”………………MAKES A DOWN HOME MENTALITY A THING OF THE PAST……………….BUTCH MARTIN NEVADA

  3. cheers for the previous new post.

  4. Kenneth Smart says:

    This world is fast becoming a very sad place, or is it. Here in SA the risk of legal action is extremely low as our court system does not recognise personal suffering etc as high on the agenda. Coupled with “the reasonable man” issue, our courts also expect that if you request to borrow an item you are aware of its risks and therefore accept same. The only exception is where separate legislation covers the licencing, posession and use of items such as guns, motor vehicles etc. What has happened in the USA that has developed this mentality. Is it as simple as pure greed?

  5. Rob Scott says:

    I was told by a freind when i asked to borrow a chain saw.
    DO YOU LOAN YOUR WIFE i said No He replied I DON’T LOAN MY TOOLS.
    Good answer i thought.

  6. We in the UK has always looked up litigation and ambulance chasers as an American pastime but unfortunately this ailment has crossed the ocean and now we have our own brand of shysters (Is that how its spelt) who appear on tv every day spouting their particular mantra “Have you been injured and want compensation, contact Greed & partners for a full payment”. On the question of tool lending my dad on my first days apprentiship gave me this advice (a) Never ever lend yours tools to anyone they are the instruments that provide you with a living, and (b) never if offered by your customer a cup of tea (or in your case coffee) refuse it ’cause you won’t be asked again.Lastly over here in the UK the quickest and easyest way to qualify for a fat lip is using a tool on site or anywhere in fact that doesn’t belong to you without asking

  7. Dustin says:

    The law falls under what is called bail mentioned, and it is as simple as verbally giving a disclaimer and passing of liability.

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