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Posted in Premises Liability on June 14, 2022
Property owners have a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure people entering their property are not injured, including residential property owners. Premises liability laws can hold a homeowner personally liable for injuries and damages occurring on their property. However, do these laws apply to individuals working on your property?
Can I be held liable if someone is injured while working on my property?
There is a possibility you could be liable; it depends on the facts of the case. Seeking legal advice from a premises liability lawyer is in your best interest.
Generally, a homeowner is not responsible for contractor injuries that occur on their property under New York Labor Laws §240 and §241. However, the exemption only applies if the contractor controls the work project.
If a homeowner “controls” the work being performed on the property, the homeowner could be liable for any injuries that occur on the property. Controlling a work project includes, but is not limited to:
A homeowner could avoid liability by allowing the contractors and workers to perform their jobs without supervising the work. The homeowner should ensure the contractor understands their expectations for the finished project. However, the contractor should have complete control over performing the work.
Also, homeowners should ask for copies of the contractor’s commercial general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance certificate. Before signing contracts or agreements for construction, repairs, or home improvements, you should obtain copies of these documents.
Even though you do not control the work being performed on your home, it does not necessarily absolve you from all liability for injuries on your property. As a property owner, you still have a duty to maintain your property in a reasonably safe condition. Failing to do so could result in a negligence claim.
A homeowner could be negligent if they fail to make required repairs that pose a danger to someone on their property. Negligence might also include failing to warn someone of a known hazard on the property that could result in harm. Failing to remove hazardous materials might also lead to a negligence claim.
Generally, courts do not hold homeowners liable for conditions if the homeowner does not have actual knowledge of the danger. For example, the homeowner did not know that a neighbor’s dog dug a large hole in the backyard before a worker tripped and fell. Therefore, the court might not find the homeowner liable for damages.
However, constructive notice means that a condition lasted long enough that a homeowner should have reasonably known about the danger. For example, a worker sustains an electrical injury while installing a new oven because of faulty wiring.
The homeowner might not have known about the faulty wiring in many cases. However, suppose the lights flicker off and on in the kitchen and have been doing so for months. That could be constructive notice there is a problem with the home’s wiring.
The burden of proving the elements of a negligence claim falls on the injured party. Therefore, the worker or contractor would have to prove you knew or should have known about the danger but failed to remedy the problem or provide sufficient warning. Then, they would need to prove that the condition caused their injuries and damages.
If the injured worker proves you are liable for damages, they could receive economic damages such as:
You could also be responsible for the person’s non-economic damages. These damages include the person’s pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, and permanent impairments. You may also be liable for mental anguish, disfigurement, and emotional distress.
Homeowners insurance policies generally provide liability coverage for injuries occurring on the property. However, you would need to review the terms and conditions of your policy to determine if it covers the specific facts of the case.
The insurance policy could exclude specific situations. If that is the case, you could be personally liable for the damages caused if someone gets hurt while working on your property in New York.
If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City premises liability lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.
We have two convenient locations in New York:
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242