What Happens if a Contractor is Injured on My Property?
A California property owner might be responsible for damages resulting from a contractor’s injuries that occur on their property under a premises liability theory or if the contractor is determined to be a direct employee of the property owner. In each case, the specific facts and circumstances of how the injuries happened will be critical factors in determining if the property owner bears any liability for damages.
Southern California property owners and contractors that are concerned over what happens when a contractor is injured on their property should consult with Los Angeles construction accident attorneys before a contractor begins to provide services at a job site, or as soon as is possible after a property-related accident causes a contractor’s injuries. The accident and injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law can provide experience-based guidance that minimizes a property owner’s liability risks or that helps a contractor to recover damages from the parties that are responsible for dangerous conditions that caused serious injuries.
What are a property owner’s premises liability obligations to a contractor?
All property owners must keep their premises free from known unsafe conditions or must warn their guests and other persons that are invited onto their property, including all contractors, of known safety risks. The facts about a particular injury will always establish whether the property owner bears liability for damages and injuries. If, for example, a property owner retains a contractor to repair a broken or defective staircase and that defect causes the contractor’s injuries, the property owner will likely not be liable for damages because the contractor knew about the defect. Alternately, if the property owner hires a contractor to fix a different problem but provides no warning about the defective staircase, the owner might then be responsible for the contractor’s injuries.
When might a contractor be determined to be a direct employee of a property owner?
Most contractors are independent professionals that use their own tools, work according to their own schedules, and operate independently of any directions from a property owner. In some situations, however, a property owner might treat the contractor as an employee by requiring the contractor to maintain regular working hours, providing tools for the contractor’s use, and assigning particular detailed tasks for the contractor to handle. By law, employers must maintain insurance that reimburses employees for losses and injuries they suffer while they are on the job. If evidence suggests that a property owner treated a contractor as an employee, that owner might then be liable to pay the contractor’s damages.
How can property owners protect themselves from liability for a contractor’s injuries?
All property owners, whether in California or elsewhere in the United States, have a legal obligation to remain vigilant about hazards on their premises. When a contractor or any other guest on a Southern California property is injured as a result of one of those hazards, knowledgeable LA construction attorneys will inevitably look for evidence that the property owner was aware of the hazard. Those lawyers will also examine the property owner’s relationship with the contractor and the level of independence exercised by the contractor in providing services.
If the facts and evidence suggest that the property owner is liable for the contractor’s injuries, the contractor might have a right to recover damages for:
- all medical bills and hospital expenses
- costs of occupational and rehabilitation therapy
- wages lost as a result of an injuries
- costs and expenses associated with travel to and from doctors’ and therapists’ appointments
- pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of relationships with family and friends.
A property owner’s liability is never automatic when a contractor is injured on the owner’s premises. Likewise, contractors should never assume that they will not be deemed to be employees of a property-owner solely because they consider themselves as independent professionals. Because these inquiries are so fact-specific, California property owners and contractors should always consult with an experienced construction lawyer as soon as is possible after a contractor suffers injuries.
Call Ellis Injury Law for a review of facts and evidence after a contractor suffers injuries on someone else’s property
Please see our website or call Ellis Injury Law to speak with a Los Angeles construction lawyer about property owner liability when a contractor is injured on the owner’s premises. Because property owner liability is so fact-specific, please contact us as soon as is possible after an accident and before any evidence is lost or witness memories begin to fade.