What Happens If A Contract Worker Gets Injured in Your Premises?
If you are getting any work done at your premises and the employee of any independent contractor gets injured then you may be under the impression that the whole responsibility for that employee's medical expenses or his lost wages will be the responsibility of the contractor, who has taken the contract of doing work at your premises. However, in many cases, it was seen that the court will consider that the responsibility will lie on the person, who is getting the work done and not the contractor.
Most of the time, when any independent contractor or anybody who is working on behalf of the contractor gets injured at your premises, then often it is not very clear who will be legally responsible. In certain exceptional case, any gross negligence on your part may also cause or some way contribute for the injury.
As an example, you will hire a contractor for repair of your roof, but fail to inform him that your roof has certain structural weakness. Now if the worker walks on your roof and the roof collapses then the court will decide that failure to warn the contractor about weak roof was gross negligence on your part. You may be held accountable for the injury of the worker.
In case, you hire anyone to perform certain job at your business premises for tree trimming, for instance and the contractor has valid license, then the contractor will be legally accountable for injury of his worker. Therefore, it is very important, while hiring independent contractor to ensure that the validity of contractor's license. Simply their claim that they possess a license is not enough to absolve you from your responsibility.
Independent contractor's insurance
Even if the contractor has valid license still you may be held responsible in case of injuries of contractor or any of his employee, if the contractor has not got insurance which covers bodily injuries as well as workers' compensation for any lost wages. In order to ensure your interest, your contractor's insurance must also cover any property damage or bodily injury that the contractor or his employees may cause you.
Decision of Supreme Court - California State during 2003, further complicated the responsibility for any injured workers employed by the contractor. A case of "Fernandez vs. Lawson," court considered one claim of certain worker injured while hired by one roofing contractor. That contractor had presented the owner his business card where it was mentioned the license number. He also claimed having current insurance, and he presented insurance certificate that was expired, saying that he would get the current certificate on the next day.
However, on the same day, the worker got injured. The appeals court decided that the owner was responsible and not the contractor. Later California Supreme Court changed the decision, only because that worker had worked for below 53 hours in the site. Austin personal injury lawyer notes that it is always the responsibility of the owner of residence or business to decide whether the contractor who is licensed and also carries adequate insurance too.