Not every contractor is out on a major commercial work site every day. In fact, many contractors consistently work on smaller projects and in people’s homes. A residential environment is far different than a commercial construction zone. In many ways, it can be less dangerous. At private homes, contractors are not usually working multiple stories up, unlike with commercial work that requires fall arrest equipment. Also, contractors often work with fewer larger machines and vehicles at private homes compared to commercial projects. However, all of that does not mean private homes are entirely safe. Contractors still face risks, particularly when there are other people coming in and out of the residences. Despite a contractor’s best efforts, other workers or residents could create dangerous environments or cause accidents that lead to injuries. This begs the question: when contractors sustain work injuries in private homes, what are their legal rights?
Common Construction Injures in Private Homes
Construction is an important yet hazardous profession. Contractors working on private homes are at risk for suffering from construction site accidents including:
- Falls from roofs, scaffolding, ladders
- Trauma from falling objects
- Building collapses
- Vehicle or equipment accidents
- Amputations of toes, fingers, hand, or limb
- Fires, explosions, electrocution
- Heat stroke or exhaustion
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Eye injuries from debris or chemicals
A Contractor’s Rights Depends on Their Employment Status
When a contractor sustains work-related injuries anywhere, they need to determine whether they are an employee of a business, an independent contractor performing services for another business, or an independent contractor hiring out their own services. Each of these situations may lead contractors down a different path to compensation for their injuries.
Contractors Working as Employees
If a contractor is injured in a private home and is an employee of a business, then they should learn whether they have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If the employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, then the contractor can file a claim for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of use of a body part
- Total or partial disability
- Temporary or permanent disability
If the employer does not provide workers’ comp insurance, then the contractor needs to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim. Depending on the situation, the worker may file a personal injury claim against their employer or another at-fault party, like the homeowner.
If a contractor was hired by another company as an independent contractor or was hired independently by a homeowner, then workers’ compensation is not an option. Workers’ compensation insurance is for employees only.
Instead, independent workers must pursue compensation through a personal injury claim against whoever is responsible for the negligence that caused their injuries. The claim may be against the business that hired the contractor, the homeowner, another resident, a visitor to the home, another worker, or a trespasser.
During a personal injury claim, an independent worker can pursue compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
Depending on who the contractor needs to name as a defendant, there may be a pertinent insurance policy. For instance, if a business is liable, it will likely have a business insurance policy that covers bodily injury. The homeowner may also have a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers injuries, though these usually have low limits for compensation. In certain circumstances, a contractor may be able to obtain a sufficient insurance settlement. However, if the insurer refuses to approve the claim or offers too low of a settlement, the contractor will need to pursue their personal injury claim in court.
Let Our Alabama Work Injury Lawyers Help
If a contractor gets hurt while working in a private home, they need to speak with an experienced work accident lawyer right away to determine their rights and legal options. While some contractors have the benefit of workers’ compensation insurance, many have to look elsewhere for help paying medical bills and recovering lost wages. They may even have to face a lengthy court battle to prove another business or individual is responsible for their injuries and compensating them. We have work injury lawyers available to help you across the entire state of Alabama in addition to our Birmingham work injury lawyers staffed at our office in Birmingham.