Are Contractors Responsible for Accidents During Home Improvement Projects?
If you hired a contractor to work on your home and they sent a tree crashing through your neighbor’s roof, what would happen? Would the contractor pay for everything? Could your neighbor sue you? Keep reading to find out.
Yes, Your Contractor is Responsible for Their Negligence
As you might have expected, your contractor is responsible for any property damage or injuries that they cause while doing work on your home. That includes both property damage and physical injuries both inside of your home and to any neighbors.
If your contractor is hurt while working on your home, they would be responsible in most cases since their work by nature is dangerous. The main exceptions would be if you knew of a dangerous condition and didn’t warn them or if you actively did something like accidentally knocking over the ladder they were on.
Your contractor would need to make good on any claims either through insurance or by covering any expenses themselves.
You May Also Be Responsible for Your Contractor’s Actions
If a contractor injures a neighbor or guest in your home or causes property damage to a third party, you also have responsibility. The reason is that the contractor was under your control when they caused the injury.
The contractor still has the ultimate responsibility, but the third party could choose to make a claim against you instead. If they come to you and the contractor has insurance, you can usually get the contractor’s insurance company to take care of everything for you. If the contractor has no insurance, you may have to pay out of pocket and hope you’ll be able to get reimbursed by the contractor.
What Insurance Coverage Should You Ask For?
To protect yourself from having to pay for your contractor’s negligence, make sure they have the following coverages.
- Workers’ compensation covers injuries to the contractor or their employees. Wisconsin law requires most businesses with employees to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance.
- Commercial general liability covers harm to you or third parties such as property damage and personal injuries. This coverage usually isn’t legally required, but nearly every reputable business will carry it.
- Commercial auto covers harm caused by the contractor’s vehicle. Auto accidents are often excluded from general liability policies, even if the accident happens during work, so it’s important to make sure that they have both.
- Builder’s risk will replace any tools or materials stolen or destroyed while work is ongoing. These types of claims are often not covered by other insurance or may be difficult to prove that they are covered.
Ask your insurance agent about the specific coverages and limits your contractor should carry as well as what coverage you should have. Your insurance needs will vary based on the type of project since some are riskier than others.
Philleo Agency Insurance is here to help. Contact us now to speak to one of our agents and make sure you’re covered for any harm caused by your contractor during your project.