Liability For Contractors

Are you placing you or your company in jeopardy?

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently held that a person or business may be liable for injuries sustained by the employee of a tree trimming service when that employee was injured. A little known statute which is Indiana Code 22-3-2-14(b), requires that when you hire someone to perform any activity on your behalf exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), such as tree trimming, lawn service, plumbing, electrical service and the like, that you require them to provide you with proof from such contractor a certificate from the worker's compensation board showing that such contractor has complied with section 5 of this chapter, IC 22-3-5-1, and IC 22-3-5-2. If you fail to do so you shall be liable to the same extent as the contractor for compensation, physician's fees, hospital fees, nurse's charges, and burial expenses on account of the injury or death of any employee of such contractor, due to an accident arising out of and in the course of the performance of the work covered by such contract. There are some exceptions that apply to your owner occupied residence but you should obtain the certificate in any case.

The interesting question raised in this case was the tree trimming service was only being paid six hundred dollars ($600.00). Part of the agreement between the tree trimming service and the business was that the tree trimming service was allowed to keep the wood that resulted from cutting up the downed tree. The employee of the tree trimming service argued that the wood was valued at more than four hundred dollars ($400.00) and therefore the true value of the contract was in excess of one thousand dollars ($1000.00). Therefore, under this case, if a painter, roofer, chimney sweep, or the like is injured while performing work for you in the amount in excess of one thousand dollars ($1000.00), you could be personally liable for compensation, physician's fees, hospital fees, nurse's charges, and burial expenses on account of the injury or death of any employee of such contractor, due to an accident arising out of and in the course of the performance of the work covered by such contract.

Also, another insurance that you should require them to provide is proof of liability insurance, which also covers you.

As with all other information contained on this website, you should not consider this legal advice and you should seek advice from a lawyer. Appointments may be arranged to discuss the matter with our lawyers but no advice will be given by email.