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Legal Ramifications Of Landcruiser Modification...

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by landcruisaholic, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. landcruisaholic

    landcruisaholic

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    This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night gang... Have you considered this???? I was redesigning my steering system and brake system both of which are vital control surfaces and systems and wondered if I was voiding my insurance. So I pose this question to y'all, if you modify your vehicle in such a manner that results in catastrophic failure hence resulting in another party's death or injury., is your insurance void??? I would think that if you are modifying your vehicle in such a way the insurance company would want to be notified... So do you in fact negate your insurance by installing mods that are essentially non D.O.T. approved???? I know its a bummer to think about but better to think than to never think and hang... I would think a blood sucking attorney and knowledge that his client was injured or died as a result of mods that you did to essential control surfaces would be a handful to say the least..,. Whats your opinionj???? Frank (www.landcruisaholics.com)
     
  2. Poser

    Poser Oh...Durka Durka Durka. s-Moderator Supporting Vendor

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    Probably a question best posed to an agent that insures streetrods and other modified vehicles..I would think that Kalifornia has case law on the books concerning this issue, considering how long people have been modding vehicles out there..

    Good luck!

    -Steve
     
  3. atoyot

    atoyot

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    This seems pretty easy to me beleive it or not. There are many factors involved. It all depends on the circumstance's. If you told the insurance company that it was your fault for the modification. If the insurance companies investagator found the faulty custom fab. and then prosecuted as they would do of course or the cause was not found and nothing happened. I would think it all depends on the victims goal. If they are driven to find a fault and have the money or if they just don't care. If the work is done by a certified welder and passes inspection laws I would say your more safe than if not. But if the question is are you more legally protected stock or not... I'd say stock. :D
     
  4. mudracer

    mudracer

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    I would think any body that helped you modify your rig would be liabel in some degree.
     
  5. Poser

    Poser Oh...Durka Durka Durka. s-Moderator Supporting Vendor

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    Well then, can we hold web sites liabel too?
     
  6. atoyot

    atoyot

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    I would hope you would hold yourself liabal. You are the one who chooses who works on your rig. Unless they sign an agreement taking full responsability I would say they are just doing what you paid them to do. Make sure they are reputable and certified!!!! And then double check. If you are still paranoid have your lawyer draw up a contract. :cheers:
     
  7. Poser

    Poser Oh...Durka Durka Durka. s-Moderator Supporting Vendor

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    Insurance discussions are about as fruitful as religion debates.

    Common sense rarely enters into any discussion concerning liability, or acceptance of responsibity...especially when the courts get involved...

    Good luck!

    -Steve
     
  8. Jonathan_Ferguson

    Jonathan_Ferguson ★ is in the wrong locale SILVER Star

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    This is exactly why there are'nt many modified Landcruisers in Australia, As just about all modifications are illegal. Such as Disc Brakes(Unless it was availible on that exact same model - No Disc Brakes for BJ40) Power Steering and SOA(Unless you did'nt Weld anything and use original Steering setup :banana:). :'(
    Can't increase Tyre diameter by more than 15mm over the largest theoretical Tyre size on the Tyre Placard. :ban:
     
  9. zetasig

    zetasig

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    for what its worth I work for an insurance company. In My Opinion. You personally would be the one responsible. (you told and paid the welder to do something to the truck) therefore he really cant be held. Some would disagree. (maybe they chase ambulances too)

    The insurance company covers you, and your actions, at fault or not. for a set amount of money (premium), this is based on a stock vehicle which has been approved by the DOT, and vehilce makers who test these components and so on to insure they dont fail, or break, or kill someone.. Once you mess with that, all bets are off. Im not a lawyer, or an insurance agent. but I do deal with some of this stuff on a regular basis. This is ONLY my opinion.

    Look carefully at the legal language of any Lift kit maker. Then Look at the Vehicles warrenty. If you were to lift say a new 2004 landcruiser it would automatically VOID all or part of the warrenty of the truck because it has been messed with. Even with a time tested "safe" lift kit. the insurance company still covers it, but the OEM warrenty is no longer valid.
     
  10. woody

    woody unhelpful spotter Staff Member Admin

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    The law is in a tough spot...

    which is less safe, my FJ40 converted to 4wheel discs, 6-point cage with 4-point harness, and many other custom fabricated safety features...

    or, a 1984 Honda Civic that's rusted beyond swiss cheese?

    US laws place many of these issues on the driver, not on the vehicle. However, all states have specific items which are NOT safe...ie: heims joints on steering are not allowed, welded steering components are not allowed, etc.
     
  11. tewlman

    tewlman

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    this thread could go on forever with different opinions and senarios and everyone may be partly right, but in reality it would most likely depend on the individual circumstances for a particlar case.
    has anybody out there had a situation where this happened? if so, what was the outcome?
     
  12. dinkleberry

    dinkleberry

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    If you've got a good enough lawyer, you can sue anybody for anything.

    :flipoff2:Lawyers!
     
  13. cruiser_guy

    cruiser_guy

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    I agree with the general consensus that, "If you modify it you're responsible for it". That being said, our FJ55 MUST have a government mandated safety inspection prior to our licencing and insuring it. Wouldn't the liability for modifications made prior to the above inspection pass to the inspector? After all what is the inspection for otherwise than to weed out unsafe vehicles? If not, what am I paying the guy for?
    We're not doing major modifications but we are repowering it with a 3B and possibly an AXT turbo kit as well.
     
  14. TJDIV

    TJDIV Back in The U.P.

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    Actually, let's think about this as if we're involved in a claim. Say your front disc brakes that you installed went out and you smashed into somebody and took them out.

    Are you a certified mechanic?
    Aside from the failure, were you acting irresponsibly or illegally?
    What if the inspection found (even your inspector) found that your work was sub-standard?

    Bottom Line here, and I've dealt with insurance on this: Circumstance. Quick Wits at the time of an accident can allow you to escape serious punishment, provided your conscience can take the beating and you honestly can label it "an accident".

    I don't agree with the Null and Void on the insurance policy. In fact, I think it falls on the insurance company. If you do as I did and inform them that your vehicle does have some modifications done to it, and they insure you; guess what. Not your problem.

    Do your work right, make sure it is safe so that if an accident ever happens; it's just that, an accident. From there, you can take care of yourself.

    :beer:
     
  15. TJDIV

    TJDIV Back in The U.P.

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    [quote author=dick link=board=1;threadid=12176;start=msg111540#msg111540 date=1077863977]
    I would think any body that helped you modify your rig would be liabel in some degree.
    [/quote]

    NO. Not at all. The legal system may try to operate on the, "well, he helped me too" theory.

    If you drop it off at a shop to get some work done, don't inspect the work or test drive the vehicle and something happens; well; you're in for a very, very long road if you try to point the finger at your mechanic.

    Sorry to keep on here. This scenario is actually almost an urban legend. It is very, very, very rare for something like this to happen. In fact, you could poll this entire web-site and be hard pressed to find somebody who would fit into this thread.

    :cheers:
     
  16. Eskimo

    Eskimo SILVER Star

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    My partner's wife is a lawyer, and has drafted us up waivers that all our customers must sign before we do any work for them... For reasons like this.. We would certainly get sued if someone having a stout front bumper made by us rams through their car killing them, instead of crumpling like a factory one...
     
  17. Degnol

    Degnol

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    The following is just my treatise on the legal system;

    The defendants in civil suits are almost always the people with insurance or assets...Not necessarily the ones at fault.
    Now if you have an accident, your fault or otherwise, resulting in serious bodily injury or death....Someone's gonna get sued, the one most responsible? No, the one with the deep pockets.
    The lawyers are in it for the money, period. I'm not blaming them for that, it's just the way it is. Would your insurance company try to wiggle out of a big claim? Well, depends. I don't think it is a huge threat to anybody I've heard on this board. LC's don't go that fast and they're not that big, ergo...not that much damage. Now if you say it is stock and are running a BB, blown, chrome...something that a claims adjuster can't help but see, well that is a different story.
    .02
    Ed
     
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