Failure of a contractor to have workers’ compensation insurance on his/her employees is a criminal offense. It is punishable by 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Hiring such a contractor will put you and your home at serious risk.
What Could Happen If My Contractor Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Suppose you hire a contractor who has no workers’ compensation insurance and a worker is injured. The courts might charge you with criminal negligence. It is your responsibility to check with Contractors State License Board to see if he had insurance. If you did check, and ignored the fact, that is even worse. The contractor and possibly you take on the liability. This includes all medical bills and lost wages.
Your dream of making your house a safer place to live can result in a legal nightmare. On the other hand, if the contractor has workers’ compensation insurance, the insurance company takes full responsibility.
How do I know if my Contractor has it?
Easy. Go to the Contractor’s State License Board website, Put their contractor’s license number in the search box on the right. You will find the name of the insurance company and the expiration date. If you do not see a company listed, or the insurance has expired, this means the contractor does not have workers’ compensation. Moreover, he is working illegally.
What if my Contractor hires an uninsured Sub-Contractor
In this case the liability falls on the general contractor. He should have checked. The general contractor’s workers’ compensation insurance will not cover injuries sustained by a sub-contractor’s employee. The insurance covers his employees and not the subcontractor’s. A lawyer might try to pin it on you.
Contractor’s Liability Insurance
You can be held responsible if someone is injured on your property. This happens if you could have prevented the injury. For example, the mailman seriously injures himself tripping over an extension cord in your garage. If you could have prevented it, you can be responsible for this even if the contractor put the extension cord there. The same thing can happen if someone comes over to your house and falls over a piece of equipment left by the contractor.
You can be hit with huge legal and medical bills unless your contractor has liability insurance that will cover these expenses. Especially a serious injury such as a child hurting himself by turning on a saw that the contractor left at the house. The possibilities for injury are endless. This is why both workers’ compensation and liability insurance are so important. Retrofitting should make you confident about the safety of your home, not worried about keeping it.
Contractor’s State License Board website does not have this information. The contractor must show you a certificate.