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What happens if a service worker gets injured on my property?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

If a service worker gets injured on your property, the legal implications and your potential liability can vary depending on several factors, including your state’s laws and the specifics of the incident.

Firstly, it’s important to know that liability for a worker’s injury can differ from state to state. Some states have no-fault laws regarding insurance for injuries, which means that an insurance carrier would initially cover the costs and then possibly seek reimbursement from another carrier, a process known as subrogation. For example, your insurance might cover the worker’s injury costs initially, and then seek reimbursement from the worker’s employer’s insurance later. However, if you took appropriate steps beforehand, you generally shouldn’t be held directly liable for the worker’s injury.

Secondly, whether you’re liable may also depend on the degree of control you exercised over the project. If homeowners hire contractors and do not directly supervise or control the work, they typically need to ensure a reasonably safe environment and warn the workers of any known hazards. If an injury occurs due to a hazard the homeowner was aware of and did not disclose, they could be liable. Conversely, if the contractors were aware of the hazards and the injury occurred in the course of addressing these hazards, the workers’ compensation insurance might cover the injury, reducing the homeowner’s liability.

Moreover, if a homeowner closely monitors and controls the project, they could be assuming more liability for any injuries that occur. Issuing instructions or directions to the workers can be interpreted as exercising control, potentially making the homeowner liable for any resulting injuries.

Lastly, in most situations, a homeowner’s insurance policy might provide coverage for such injuries. It’s typically designed to cover injury expenses and other costs arising from incidents on the property.

It’s crucial to consult with a legal expert or an insurance professional in your area for specific advice tailored to your situation, as the laws and insurance policies can vary greatly by location and individual circumstances.

For more detailed information, you can refer to FreeAdvice and Callahan Law.

If a service worker gets injured on your property in California, several legal considerations come into play. The outcome largely depends on the circumstances of the injury and the specifics of California law. In the next paragraph we will look at the aspects of this in regards to California.

What happens if a service worker gets hurt on my property in California?

1. Workers’ Compensation Insurance: In California, most employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, which covers injuries employees sustain while on the job. If a service worker is injured on your property, their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance typically covers their medical expenses and lost wages. This means that the worker would file a claim with their employer’s insurance, rather than pursuing a claim against you. So it’s important you’re aware of the business you are hiring and if they are licensed and insured before starting any work on your property.

2. Homeowners Liability and Insurance: As a homeowner, your homeowner’s insurance policy may offer liability protection in case someone is injured on your property. This can include injuries to service workers, depending on the terms of your policy. Your insurance may cover medical bills or legal costs if you are sued. However, this coverage often depends on the nature of the incident and whether you were negligent in some way.

3. Negligence and Liability: California follows a comparative negligence rule. This means that if a lawsuit is filed, any compensation the injured party receives can be reduced by their percentage of fault in causing the injury. If, as a homeowner, you were negligent (e.g., failing to warn the worker of a known hazard), you could be held partly liable. However, if the injury occurred due to the worker’s own negligence or an unavoidable accident, your liability may be limited.

4. Contractor vs. Employee: The legal responsibility may also depend on whether the worker is an independent contractor or an employee of a company. Generally, independent contractors are responsible for their own insurance coverage, whereas employees should be covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.

5. Your Actions and Involvement: If you directly contribute to the injury, for instance, by providing unsafe equipment or instructing the worker to perform a task in a dangerous manner, you might be more directly liable.

6. Legal Consultation: In any case where there’s uncertainty or a significant injury, it’s advisable to consult with a legal expert like J&Y Law. An expert attorney can provide guidance on your specific situation, especially if there’s a risk of a lawsuit.

Each situation can vary, so these are general guidelines. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your insurance policy and potentially seek legal advice in the event of such an incident occurring on your property.

Common instances where a service worker gets injured on your property

Common instances where a service worker might get hurt on your property include a variety of scenarios, often related to the nature of their work and the environment they are working in. Here are some typical situations to look out for:

1. Slips, Trips, and Falls: This is one of the most common types of accidents in many workplaces. It can happen due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, cluttered work areas, or poor lighting. For instance, a plumber might slip on a wet floor in a bathroom, or a gardener might trip over an unseen garden tool hidden in some foliage.

2. Falls from Height: Workers engaged in tasks at height, such as roofers, painters, or tree trimmers, are at risk of falling. This can occur due to unstable ladders, lack of safety equipment, or precarious working surfaces.

3. Electrical Shocks: Electricians or any worker dealing with electrical systems might suffer from electrical shocks, especially if working on live circuits or in areas with exposed wiring.

4. Injuries from Tools or Machinery: Workers using power tools, lawn mowers, or other machinery could get injured if the equipment is faulty. Also if they lack property training and fail to use the proper protective gear.

5. Animal Attacks or Bites: Workers like mail carriers, delivery personnel, or utility workers might be bitten by a homeowner’s pet.

6. Exposure to Harmful Substances: Workers might be exposed to hazardous chemicals, leading to burns, respiratory problems, or other health issues. This is particularly relevant for workers dealing with pest control, painting, or cleaning with strong chemicals.

7. Overexertion or Strain: Manual labor can lead to overexertion injuries. Movers or construction workers lifting heavy items might experience muscle strains or back injuries.

8. Accidents Involving Vehicles: Workers who operate or work near vehicles, like delivery drivers and construction workers, might be involved in vehicle accidents on the property.

9. Heat-Related Illnesses: Outdoor workers such as landscapers or construction workers are at risk of heatstroke, dehydration, or sunburn, especially in hot climates or during summer. If you can tell it is a hot day use your best judgment for delaying work being done until it is more comfortable for them and offer beverages to help with hydration.

10. Cold-Related Injuries: Conversely, workers exposed to cold conditions, like those working on outdoor repairs in winter, can suffer from hypothermia or frostbite.Offering hot hands hand warmers, toe warmers and other warming beverages would be a good idea while they are working on your property.

It’s important for homeowners to be aware of these potential hazards and take steps to mitigate them, such as maintaining a safe environment, keeping workers comfortable,  providing clear instructions for them, and ensuring that they are aware of any specific risks related to their property.

At J&Y Law Firm, we recommend seeking professional legal advice when a service worker gets hurt on your property. For further guidance or to discuss your specific case, contact J&Y Law Firm at (877) 426-6580, and our team of experienced attorneys will be happy to assist you.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.