There will always be some risks involved with having work done at your home, even when the work is done by a qualified and experienced contractor. However, you may be wondering if you could get sued if a contractor does get hurt at your home. The short answer is yes, sometimes. Without homeowners insurance, San Diego homeowners may be personally liable for injuries to contractors on their property. Here’s what you need to know.
Disclosing Known Risks
When hiring a contractor, it’s common to start off with a discussion about the nature of the project. The discussion usually ends with an estimate and possibly a contract that covers details such as the expected duration of the project. If everything is acceptable to you and the contractor, you’ll likely step out of the way and let him or her do the work.
As the homeowner, you have a right to expect the job to be done a certain way within a reasonable time. You also have a responsibility to ensure the work area is reasonably safe for the contractor and any other crew members, which means you’ll need to disclose known risks, such as:
• Weak structures in or around the work area
• Possible toxic substances you may have stored nearby
• Animals that may be kept close to the work area
Determining the Circumstances Involved
Whether a contractor can sue you also depends on the circumstances. When it comes to doing the actual work, a contractor has to accept a certain amount of risk that naturally goes along with what he or she has been hired to do. For instance, if you hire a contractor to fix an old warped porch, he or she may not be able to sue you for injuries incurred because of his or her failure to secure the porch before working on it. On the other hand, if you hire a contractor to replace windows on your home and the job requires spending some time on that weak porch, he or she may be able to sue you if it collapses and causes injuries. This is especially true if you fail to reveal the porch’s instability ahead of time.
Understanding the Level of Involvement
It’s true that a homeowner has a certain obligation to make the work area safe for contractors. However, courts can interpret this obligation differently, depending on the level of homeowner involvement. For example, if you innocently suggest using a ladder you’ve already set up to reach an upper level of your home, you may be held legally responsible if the ladder collapses and injures a contractor. Even if you’re just observing the work being done and make a random comment about the lack of protection in case of a fall, you may be unintentionally accepting responsibility for the contractor’s safety.
Because of the many variables that can determine legal liability and responsibility, it can be helpful to discuss issues of this nature with your insurance provider before you hire a contractor. This will give you a better idea of what your responsibilities are and what steps the contractor should take.
For additional information on home insurance and liability for injuries on your property, reach out to the insurance experts at Altra Insurance Services. We also offer affordable and reliable renters, commercial, motorcycle, and car insurance san diego. Call 619-474-6666 today for a complimentary quote.