Hiring a contractor to work on your house comes with many legal questions, including who is liable for unfinished work, damages to the property, and even damages to the contractor’s property or injury. While all reputable contractors are licensed and insured, this doesn’t necessarily cover injury due to faulty premises. It is important to understand what your responsibilities as a property holder are when inviting an individual into your home. Because, yes, you can be held responsible for injuries sustained by a contractor who is working on your property.
As a homeowner, you are considered responsible for the safety of the people you welcome onto your property. This duty, known as premises liability, extends to guests, visitors, and workers including landscapers, general contractors, housekeepers, and nannies.
How Responsible Are You for a Worker at Your Home?
If a person has been invited into your home, you hold the highest level of responsibility for their safety. Classified as invitees, these individuals include workers and service providers. As the homeowner, your four main responsibilities are:
- To search your property for unknown or hidden hazards
- To repair recognized hazards in a reasonable amount of time
- To warn invitees of existing hazards
- To not cause an injury through a wanton or willful act
If you fail to perform these responsibilities, and an accidnet happens because of one of these failures, you could be held legally responsible. However, in order to be held liable, the worker must prove intentional neglect of your duties.
Can You Minimize Responsibility When Workers are at Your Home?
It depends. If you maintain low control over a project within your home – allowing the contractor to manage the project – the contractor will likely bear some liability for injuries sustained on the worksite. It is important to remember, though, that you are still required to provide a safe work environment.
Who Will Pay if a Worker is Injured at Your Home?
If you are found liable for a worker’s injuries sustained while servicing your home, your homeowners insurance company should cover the legal costs, including any and all injuries to workers and contractors at your home. You may run into trouble if your insurance company finds carelessness or negligence as a contributor to the accident. Your insurance company may withhold coverage in a premises liability lawsuit if the firm believes you contributed to the accident by failing to care for your property’s safety.
If you are facing the potential of a premises liability lawsuit, an attorney experienced in Florida’s laws regarding the matter can help you understand your situation and potential outcomes. If you decide you need assistance, the team at Cohen & Newmark can offer experienced attorneys and professionals who understand the nuances of these responsibilities and lawsuits. Call Lee today for your free consultation.