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So I've been offered a job as a contractor and I'm trying to figure what pitfalls there are to it. So far the obvious issues are health care and paying the employer side of taxes as well. But what haven't I thought of? If something ever went wrong would I face more liability than I would as an employee? Could an employer's insurance come after me if I'm not an employee?

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Aside from the “odd” American construct of your job and your healthcare insurance being the same, being a contractor (with a corporate structure; not as a sole proprietor) can be quite advantageous as compared to being an employee. Provided you are being paid more as a contractor (you should be), it should be a simple decision.

 

You have far more flexibility in tax, cashflow and deductions. For very little money, you can set up a company and then set/negotiate your own contracts with customers. Liability is limited to the company; not necessarily you as an individual.

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I am a little curious about your concerns for liability? What are you imagining happening?

 

Insurance can TRY to come after you for anything but thats not something i've heard very often unless you're doing something really sketchy. As mentioned, the company will get the lawsuit most likely because they have more to lose.

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In other industries I've heard of things going wrong and the liability being passed off to the contractor. I have no experience with contracting in the helicopter world.

 

And let me make it clear I'm not planning or expecting to crash a helicopter. But every year professional and experienced pilots crash and I don't have such a big ego as to think "it can't happen to me". Doctors carry malpractice insurance. When working as an employee unless you've done something egregious generally mishaps are covered by the company and or insurance. I was wondering if its advisable for a pilot working as a contractor to have something along the lines of a doctor's malpractice insurance.

 

Anyway I had already made my decision by the time my question had it's first substantial reply 10 days later thanks to how dead things are here these days.

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For future reference, when lawyers sue, they sue everyone associated with the incident. EVERYONE. You, as PIC, would be at the top of that list. Therefore, anyone considering such an endeavor should, at minimum, consult with an attorney to protect your assets. Thats what I did...

Edited by Spike
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For future reference, when lawyers sue, they sue everyone associated with the incident. EVERYONE. You, as PIC, would be at the top of that list. Therefore, anyone considering such an endeavor should, at minimum, consult with an attorney to protect your assets. Thats what I did...

 

It doesn't matter how deep your pockets are or how significant your professional actions were, the pilot will be named and will have to respond legally, professional representation is a good idea. I have never heard of a pilot found liable by a default judgement in not contesting the suit, but I think that is a possibility.

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