Visitor Question

Fell Off a Ladder While Painting a Home…

Submitted By: John (Norwich, CT)

A homeowner asked me to paint his house. I was in the process of painting the interior and fell off a step ladder fracturing two bones in my forearm. The ladder slipped on the plastic he insisted I use as a drop cloth. By instinct I used my right arm to stop my fall and severely fractured both bones in my forearm.

Is the homeowner liable for my injuries? He knowingly hired me with no insurance, contractors license, etc. He stated other painters charged too much and offered me $15 an hour. Financially I am strapped and could not refuse.

I did not solicit this job but instead was approached by the homeowner. I am not sure I would sue even if I could, but I may need surgery and would like to know where I stand. I couldn’t afford to pay for a surgery. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear John,

There is a very good chance your employer’s homeowners insurance may cover your injuries.

One of the good things about homeowners insurance is there doesn’t have to be negligence to recover for one’s injuries. Even though you and the homeowner had a disagreement over the drop cloth, that disagreement really won’t have much, if any effect on your claim.

The key though is to get her to give you the name of her homeowners insurance. You will need their name, telephone number and the policy number. If she will give you that information voluntarily you won’t have to worry about legal action.

Remember, filing a claim against a homeowners insurance company is NOT the same as suing someone. Too many people confuse the two actions.

Most insurance claims are negotiated well before any need for litigation.

If the homeowner refuses to give you that information you will then be faced with the decision of whether to file a lawsuit or not. In the State of Connecticut the maximum jurisdictional amount for Small Claims Court is $5,000.00 dollars.

If you decide to file suit you really won’t need an attorney. You can file the lawsuit for a nominal amount and may end up dealing with their homeowners insurance anyway. If you file suit the homeowner will turn the case over to her homeowners insurance company.

In all probability they will defend the suit for the homeowner. You may ultimately be negotiating a settlement with them at that time.

So it may ultimately be a case of “Pay me now, or Pay me later!”

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: December 3, 2011

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