> I was going to call ARRL and see if they had an answer.
The League should not (and likely will not) render legal advice unless
there's an established attorney-client relationship. They may put you in
touch with one of their volunteer counsel, but this is a tough issue to
manage when matters go seriously awry -- and the League will want no part of
it during discovery proceedings.
Everyone wants to be helpful, but that spirit of helpfulness does not
necessary carry on with the heirs of the deceased. Bystanders and invitees
to an accident when damages occur are not necessarily protected if some
legal duty exists to protect against the harm.
The most lucrative and predatory area within the legal profession is in
personal injury law -- and it didn't get that way because attorneys want to
help and do what's right for everyone involved. Ask anyone who has been
deposed in a personal injury case just how pleasant the experience was.
Become a part of a tower negligence claim and be prepared to have your
credibility completely shattered in under 120 minutes by the plaintiff's
When an incorporated club aids in these activities, their non-participating
officers may be shielded from liability, but that protection normally does
not extend to its membership. I know it sounds like I'm pontificating here:
In my youth, I carelessly climbed towers for friends when I had no idea of
the risk involved. But back then, I didn't have a dime to my name either.
Most of the folks reading this list are in or near retirement with a
war-chest of funds available to a potential plaintiff.
It's one thing to work on your own gear -- and on your own property. But
beyond that, work should be performed by professionals who can provide
evidence of ample liability protection (> $2 million) and who can
demonstrate some level of competency from their workers (e.g., Comtrain or
some other current training certificate(s)). If the tower crew cannot
produce evidence of either of these, seriously consider looking elsewhere
Disclaimer: Although I am an attorney, I am NOT your attorney. Seek the
advice of your own attorney who can apply your local laws to the relevant
facts of your case.
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