With many across South Florida undertaking home improvement projects, a question to consider is if you could be sued by a construction worker who gets injured while working on your home. The answer is, maybe. If the construction worker is employed by a construction company, the construction company’s workers’ compensation insurance will pay bills and lost wages for the injured worker. In general, if there is workers’ compensation coverage and a signed construction agreement, the homeowner should be protected.
If the person or company you hired does not carry workers’ compensation and they get injured, you might be exposed to a claim. Like most claims, the claim would only arise if the homeowner is negligent, in other words, you did something wrong that caused the worker to get hurt. To protect against that type of claim, the homeowner needs liability insurance, which most homeowners are required to have if they have a mortgage.
Let’s examine the circumstances in which you may indeed be exposed to a claim and what you can do to ensure the safety of workers inside and outside your home.
Homeowner’s Liability + Premises Liability
If you hire someone who is not covered by workers’ compensation to work on your house, you may be liable for certain injuries sustained by that person while on your property. Those types of claims usually involve a property owner’s duty to maintain their property in a safe condition. A homeowner must undertake reasonable efforts to ensure the safe conditions on the property. This includes removing any dangers you are aware of such as loose structures or hidden hazards.
Let’s use a South Florida example. You hire someone to work on your back patio, which is near the swimming pool. If you fail to maintain the conditions around the pool deck – meaning there is substantial mold and mildew and the worker slips, falls and is injured – you may be liable for the resulting injuries.
Homeowners Liability + Exercised Control
The homeowner needs to tell the construction professional the nature of the job and what they want done. Sometimes this is done by a written contract, other times it is verbal. After that, the construction professional is usually responsible for selecting the exact methods for getting the job done, such as type of ladder, safety gear to use, etc. A homeowner can get into trouble if they start micro-managing the contractors on how the work should be performed, how they should undertake safety and injury protection steps. This level of control could result in a homeowner being exposed to a claim.
Homeowner’s Liability + Home Insurance
If a worker brings a claim against you the homeowner, you will be protected if you a home insurance policy with liability coverage. Almost all standard home insurance policies include liability coverage for injuries of third persons that happen due to certain unsafe conditions on the property but be sure your policy has this by asking your agent if you have this coverage.
This type of coverage protects against claims by a construction worker, as well as claims by a visitor to your home for things like a slip-and-fall accident. It is important to review your policy before hiring somebody to work on your home to make sure you have the right coverage.
Our experienced Miami and Naples accident attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen will put your priorities first. If you have had someone injured in your home or if you or someone you care about has been injured or involved in an accident across South Florida or Southwest Florida, contact the accident lawyers and Miami and Naples personal injury attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen at 305-374-1011 or 239-793-3331, or visit fairnessforall.com for an absolutely free legal consultation to learn more about your options.