If you are working on a property--for example, repairing a roof--can you sue the owner of the property if you get injured? As is usual with personal injury cases, the answer to this question depends on different factors and circumstances of your injury. Answer these three questions to see whether you have a strong claim against the homeowner:
Did the Property Owner Closely Supervise the Project?
In most of these cases, the buck stops with the person who is actually in charge of the project. Therefore, if the contractor was in charge of the project, it would be difficult to hold the property owner liable for any injuries. This is usually the case with homeowners who relinquish total control to their hired contractors.
However, some homeowners don't like to relinquish control over their home renovations. For example, a property owner may have a preferred way of doing the work or even provide them with tools for the renovation. In such a case, you may hold the property owner liable for your injuries, since the assumption is that the person in charge of the project is responsible for providing a safe working environment.
Did the Property Owner Warn of Hidden Dangers?
The property owner is expected to warn you about hidden dangers. Whether or not a danger is hidden or obvious may depend on what you are hired to do. For example, if you were hired to upgrade electrical wiring, it is obvious that it may be dangerous, so the property owner doesn't have to warn you about that. However, the property owner should warn you about a weak ceiling, since it doesn't have anything to do with the electrical wiring. If the property owner doesn't warn you, and the ceiling caves in on you, then you can sue them for your injuries.
Is It a Commercial or Residential Property?
Your state may also have specific laws governing these issues. Some states have different laws for worker injuries on residential and commercial properties. For example, New York laws allow injured roofing contractors to sue owners of commercial properties, but not owners of residential properties.
Filing a claim against the wrong person won't get you any settlement; it's just a waste of time. This is one of the reasons it's advisable to consult a personal injury lawyer like one from Vaughan & Vaughan before sending demand letters after an injury. The lawyer will help you to identify the parties liable for your injuries.