Responsibility for Workers Injured on Your Property
UPDATED: February 5, 2020
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The answer to who’s at fault for a worker's injury can vary from state to state, especially since some states have no-fault laws when it comes to insurance for injuries. No fault means that a carrier would pay the costs and then look to be reimbursed by another carrier if reimbursement is available. This process is known as subrogation. For instance, your insurance carrier may pay $8,000 toward the roofer’s injury (meeting his claim), and then present its own claim to the roof injury carrier itself.
Sometimes subrogation works out the opposite way, with the employer’s policy paying first and then coming to your homeowner’s policy to collect later. In any case, if you took the proper steps ahead of time, you shouldn’t be held directly liable for your roofer’s injury.
Roof Injury Fault May Vary by State
In certain states, your slip and fall liability may be limited by other laws that protect homeowners from fault for roofer injuries. Take New York for example. One of the laws most relevant to who’s liable for roofer injuries is called Labor Law 240. It allows roofers to sue the owner of a commercial building if they fall while in the process of repairing or cleaning a roof. Fortunately, this same law specifically does not allow roofers to sue non-commercial homeowners.
If you are the owner of a one- or two-family home in New York, you are likely shielded from liability. However, there’s a catch. Your roofer is not allowed to sue you, but only so long as you were not directing or controlling the roofer’s work at the time. If you were directing the roofer when s/he was injured, then the ban on lawsuits is cancelled. This means that in New York, a homeowner should not attempt to guide or help the roofer s/he has hired. Let them follow their own established protocols, both for their own good and for yours. If the roofer is injured in the course of following your instructions, in any way, then you open yourself up to a possible roof injury lawsuit.
Getting Help with a Roof Injury Lawsuit
The brunt of liability for a roof injury lawsuit could also vary depending on whether the roofer works independently, as a subcontractor, or as an employee. For instance, if s/he is an employee of a roofing company, try to verify that they have current workers' compensation insurance for their workers. In any event, you want to minimize the chances you’ll be found at fault. Worker injury damages can be incredibly high, so hiring a personal injury attorney, with experience in roofer injury lawsuits, will likely prove worth the investment. Negligence or dangerous conditions are usually an important aspect of any slip-and-fall injury case, including a roof injury lawsuit.
An experienced attorney who’s licensed in your jurisdiction can help untangle the web of laws and regulations that may be applicable in your situation. You may even be able to prevent your homeowner’s insurance rates from going up, so contact a personal injury attorney today.