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What Happens if a Contractor Is Hurt on Your Property?

Posted on January 3, 2023 in Premises Liability

In California, a property owner is responsible for most injuries that occur on his or her property. This includes injuries sustained by a contractor who has been hired to work on the property. Your liability for a contractor’s injuries will depend on the circumstances. Consult with a Los Angeles construction accident attorney prior to welcoming a contractor onto your property for advice on how to avoid legal trouble.

Property Owner Obligations Toward Contractors

Anyone who owns land, property or buildings in California has a legal responsibility to keep their premises reasonably free of safety risks. They must do this by adhering to specific duties of care in how they use, control and maintain their properties. Property owners have various duties of care and responsibilities based on the status of the visitor. There are three different classifications of property visitors in California: invitees, licensees and trespassers.

A contractor is typically classified as an invitee. This is someone who is invited onto the property for the owner’s own purpose or benefit. A licensee, on the other hand, enters a premises for his or her own reasons, such as a door-to-door salesperson. The third category, trespassers, do not have permission to enter a property. Trespassers are not owed any duties of care by a property owner in California other than a duty not to intentionally cause them harm.

Invitees, on the other hand, must be treated with the utmost care by property owners. This means before a contractor enters a property, a landowner must inspect the premises for new or hidden hazards, promptly repair any known or discovered defects, and post warning signs about potential risks that exist. Failing to fulfill these responsibilities can make a property owner legally and financially accountable for a contractor’s related injuries.

When Is a Property Owner Liable for a Contractor’s Injuries?

If you invite a contractor onto your property to complete any type of work, you have a legal obligation to remain vigilant about hazards on your premises. If you fall short of these responsibilities and a contractor gets injured as a result, you may be found liable. This means your homeowners insurance company will be responsible for paying for the contractor’s medical bills, lost wages and other losses.

However, a property owner’s liability for an accident involving a contractor is not automatic. An investigation will be done to determine the cause of the injury before an insurance claim can be filed. In some cases, the contractor’s employer may have to pay for the incident. This could be the case if the contractor is an employee of a company. In California, the contractor would be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance in this scenario. By law, employers must maintain this insurance to pay for injuries and illnesses suffered on the job.

How to Protect Yourself From Liability for Contractor Injuries

If you need to hire a contractor in Los Angeles to come to your home or business, protect yourself from any premises liability for a potential injury by planning ahead. Start by inspecting your property for any potential hazards. Make any necessary repairs to ensure the reasonable safety of the jobsite. If there are hazards that you cannot fix, make sure you warn the contractor about these issues. If a contractor knows about a hazard, he or she typically cannot hold you responsible for related injuries.

You can also protect yourself by hiring a contractor who is an employee of a larger construction company or organization. Using an employee instead of an independent contractor can make the employer liable for any injuries that occur during the job, rather than the claim going to your insurance provider. If you hire an independent contractor, ask if he or she has insurance to cover any potential injuries or accidents.

If a contractor suffers an injury while on your property in Los Angeles, speak with a personal injury lawyer for more information about possibly being held liable.