If you have hired a contractor for a construction project on your home and they are injured on the premises, you may be liable for their accident and at risk of being sued. However, determining liability in this type of situation is on a case to case basis. Many factors go into determining who is at fault for a construction-related accident.
How to Protect Yourself From Legal Action
If you hire a contractor for a construction project, you may be opening yourself up to a potential lawsuit. There are many things you can do to protect yourself from legal action. Some ways to minimize your risk of liability are:
- Provide a safe work environment
- Notify the contractor of any potential hazards
- Stay hands-off during the construction process
Provide a Safe Work Environment
When you hire a contractor for a construction project on your home, your chief duty is to ensure that the work environment is reasonably safe. The workers should not be exposed to hazards unrelated to the project at hand.
It could happen that a worker electrocuted themselves due to faulty wiring while working on your floors. Your negligence in this matter will most likely open you up to a personal injury lawsuit. As long as the work environment is safe, you will most likely be protected. A worker should not suffer an injury during your home renovation project.
Notify the Contractor of Any Potential Hazards
To ensure a safe work environment, make sure to notify the contractor of any potential dangers they may face. Most often, you will be able to provide a safe working space. However, there are instances when hazards exist that are not directly related to the project at hand. An example being a situation where you bought a home that requires a complete remodel and have brought in a contractor for the first stage of the project.
In a situation like this, be sure to inform the contractor and any other workers of the risks, and to protect yourself further. Put it down in writing and have everyone sign that they have been informed of the potential dangers. Without documentation, should the contractor choose to sue you in case of an injury. It could come down to a matter of your word against theirs, which is basically a coin flip.
Stay Hands-Off During the Construction Process
Even if you have provided a safe workspace for the contractor, you can still open yourself up to liability. If you attempt to be too hands-on with the project. For many people, it is very difficult to sit back while someone is working on your home. So do not try to micromanage. After all, it is your home, and you want to make sure everything is going just right. From a legal standpoint though, getting involved puts you at risk.
If you make a suggestion about something to do with the project, and the contractor follows that advice and an injury results as a consequence, you may now be liable for that injury. The best course of action is to sit back. Let the work unfold, and know that should the project not be carried out in the manner stipulated by your contract. Then you are the one in the legal position of power. You have the right to sue the contractor for breach of contract.
What Happens if I Get Sued?
Fortunately, if someone has been injured while working on your premises and sues you for damages, even if you are determined to be liable, as long as the injury was the result of an accident and not an intentional act on your part, then the liability coverage of your homeowner’s insurance is almost guaranteed to cover the damages. If you have just bought your home and your homeowner’s insurance has not yet gone into effect, contact a competent lawyer familiar with dealing with personal injury lawsuits.