Injured Contractor: Can You Be Held Liable?

Posted on: 11 February 2015

There are a lot of things a homeowner needs to think about as he or she hires a contractor to complete a construction project. One thing a lot of homeowners do not think about is what would happen if the contractor were to get injured. Would the homeowner be held liable? In a large number of cases, the answer is yes. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of liability. The key is understanding the basic legal concepts surrounding liability and construction injuries.

Liability of an Uninvolved Homeowner

There are two kinds of homeowners when it comes to construction projects. The first is a homeowner who hires a construction worker, negotiates the price, discusses the project, and then moves out of the way so the contractor can work. The problem with being this type of homeowner is you should never assume the contractor is going to do the job the right way.

As the homeowner, you are responsible for providing the contractor with a reasonably safe work environment. It becomes very easy for a contractor to say you did not do this when you were not involved in the work process at all. Imagine hiring a painting contractor to paint the exterior of your home. While standing on the porch, the porch collapses and the contractor gets hurt. In this situation, the contractor could sue you for providing them with an unsafe work environment.

Naturally, this would be a very different story if you specifically hired the contractor to fix the porch or made the contractor aware of the damaged porch.

Liability of an Involved Homeowner

The other type of homeowner, when it comes to construction projects, is the homeowner who is involved. This is the homeowner who can sometimes get on the contractors nerves by asking so many questions and always being there to watch the contractor's every move. Regardless of how annoying this approach might seem, it shows that you care about what happens or does not happen during the construction project.

As stated previously, you are obligated to provide a contractor with a work environment that is reasonably safe. Some courts interpret exactly what this means a little differently. For example, if you were to give the contractor specific instructions on how to perform their duties and then you monitor them the entire time they are working, it could be argued that you did provide them with a safe environment even though they got hurt.

It is important to keep in mind the laws regarding your liability for a contractor's injury do vary depending on where you live and what actually happen. The court will also take into account whether or not the contracting company you hired has insurance. Be sure to contact a personal injury attorney for further assistance.