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Remodeling Projects: What if a Worker is Injured?

Key Takeaways:

  • Property owners owe workers a duty of care to protect against known dangers on the property.
  •  Contractors should have liability insurance and workers' comp coverage to protect injured workers.
  • A homeowner's insurance policy may provide protection for some premises liability claims.

Homeowners are generally required to provide a place free from danger to guests on a property. Under premises liability laws, property owners may generally be held responsible for injuries caused by negligence in failing to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. So, what should you know about a home improvement or construction contractor getting injured?

This article discusses essential tips for what happens when someone gets injured during a remodeling project. Speak with an attorney in your area today for the best information about your jurisdiction.

Do Property Owners Have a Duty of Care to Workers on a Construction Project?

Although contractors are on your property in a professional capacity, you still owe them a duty to reasonably maintain the property. In some states, injured parties are grouped into three categories, each of which is owed varying levels of care:

  • Invitees
  • Licensees
  • Trespassers

Other states have different duty of care standards for visitors or workers on their property. For example, homeowner liability in California is based on the negligence standard, where the homeowner must take reasonable care to discover, repair, or warn against dangerous conditions.

Contractors are generally considered invitees, including visitors on a property for business purposes (such as workers or customers in a store). Homeowners owe this group of visitors the highest degree of care, including a duty to repair known dangers and inspect for undiscovered hazards in areas an invitee may have access to.

If a contractor is injured because of a condition that the homeowner would reasonably have been expected to discover and correct, the homeowner may be liable for negligence in a personal injury lawsuit.

Homeowners Not Exercising Control

What if a homeowner does not exercise control over a project? Control is loosely defined as having the power to direct a person through a contract or other means. Homeowners should ask a contractor if they are insured and bonded. If the contractor is not insured, it could cause liability issues regardless of whether or not the homeowner exercises control.

Assuming that a general contractor has insurance, a homeowner might ask if they are covered under the policy as an additional insured party. Property owners may also ask about workers’ compensation insurance for the construction workers to ensure they can file a workers’ compensation claim for any workplace injuries.

Homeowners Exercising Control

Homeowners may pay thousands of dollars to have their roof fixed, their interior painted, or an addition put onto their home. To ensure things are done right, homeowners may choose to exercise control over how a project is completed.

However, choosing to oversee some or all of a project might make a homeowner liable for anything that happens to a worker on the job site. This is because the person or entity in control of how or when a contractor works may be liable for the safety of those workers.

Insurance Coverage for Remodeling Projects

A homeowner’s insurance policy may protect against personal injury liability. Individual policies vary, and some homeowner’s policies cover accidents and injury claims, including injuries for construction industry contractors.

A contractor’s injury may also be covered by their own insurance. If a contractor works as an employee of a larger company, they may be covered by worker’s compensation. Contractors may also have other forms of insurance coverage that may provide coverage for their own injuries or injuries to employees and subcontractors.

If you have concerns about construction accidents or premises liability claims, talk to a lawyer to determine your legal options.

A lawyer can help you understand your liability for dangerous conditions on your property and if your liability insurance company will cover the injured worker’s medical bills. Reach out to a workplace injury attorney today for legal advice about your liability as a property owner.

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