When an independent contractor, or one of their employees, is injured on the job at a commercial construction site, it is common for people to think that the liability for damages and losses falls onto the contractor; however, others believe the liability should fall onto the business owner who contracted the work.
If you are having construction work done to your place of business, it is wise to understand your role in the chance that a private contractor is injured while working. If you are an independent contractor who was recently injured on a commercial job, it is vital that you contact a licensed Indianapolis accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for making a claim.
In the meantime, continue reading to learn who the courts generally find responsible for independent contractor accidents and injuries in Indiana.
Legal liability can be quite unclear in the case of an independent contractor accident. The laws of liability vary from state to state, and differ greatly from case to case. It is important to discuss your questions and concerns with a licensed personal injury law firm for professional advice and personalized answers unique to your case.
There are some examples of when legal responsibility is less uncertain in the case if an injured independent contractor. A common example is when a business owner is guilty of “gross negligence.” This means that a business owner used unreasonable and/or deliberate misconduct that directly caused the contractor harm.
For instance, a business owner may exhibit gross negligence if they hire a private roofing contractor to inspect their roof, but fails to inform them that the roof is incredibly weak and unstable. As a result, the contractor falls through the roof and suffers serious injuries. In such a case, a court could find that the business owner was clearly and exceptionally negligent by failing to disclose the true nature of the roof.
If a court finds a business owner grossly negligent, the business owner could be liable for the damages and losses incurred by the victim, including hospital bills, medical expenses, unemployment reimbursement, prolonged physical therapy, and much more. Learning the difference between gross negligence and standard negligence can help you better understand this legal concept.
In special cases of egregiously offensive misconduct or flagrant negligence, a court could award an injured independent contractor “punitive damages.” Also known as “exemplary damages”, punitive damages are more intended to reprimand the wrong-doer rather than award the victim (although the victim still receives monetary compensation). Learning about the common types of damages awarded for victims of injury will help you understand these kinds of cases and more.
Independent Contractor Licenses and Insurance
In the case that a business owner hires an independent contractor who has a contractor license, the contractor themselves could be responsible for any injuries they (or their employees) sustain on the job. When hiring a private contractor, it is vital to ensure they have a current contractors license by actually viewing the license and/or requesting the license number to look up. Word of mouth is not enough to absolve a business owner’s legal responsibility in the case of an accident.
In some cases, even if a contractor has a license, a business owner could still be liable for injuries sustained by the contractor or their employees. This can happen if a contractor does not carry insurance that covers bodily injuries and workers’ compensation for lost wages. For these reasons, it is important to ensure that a private contractor retains the proper insurance coverage for property damage and bodily injury.