Liability for Falling Off a Neighbor's Roof While Working?

by Christine
(Woodstock, GA)

My son has been out of work for 4 years and lives with me, still with no prospect of a job in site. My 70 year old neighbor who is a widow is constantly asking him to do things since she thinks he has nothing else to do. She now wants him to use a blower to clean the leaves off her roof, which is very high off ground.

My question is, if he falls and is injured or killed, is she responsible for all his medical bills or funeral expenses since he does not have any life or health insurance at all? What could he do if he got injured? Does it matter if the work is paid or unpaid? Thank you for any information you can give about this.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Liability for Falling Off a Neighbor's Roof While Working?":

Christine (Woodstock, GA):

If your son is injured or killed while working for the widow, whether on her property or off, the widow may be liable for your son's damages. Whether he is paid or not doesn't matter. As long as the widow "invites" him onto her premises, she may be liable for his injuries or wrongful death.

It's a good idea before your son begins working for the widow for him to see if she has homeowners insurance. If she does the insurance should cover the eventuality of your son's injures or death. If the widow doesn't have homeowners insurance he might want to reconsider working for her, especially if there remains the possibility of injury or death.

Without insurance, any claim for injury or the wrongful death of your son would be against the widow personally. If she has little or no assets it's unlikely she'd be able to make any settlement arrangmenet. Hopefully your son will take proper precautions before agreeing to work for the widow.

Keep in mind however, that if during his time on her premises your son is intoxicated by drugs, aclohol or medications and is injured, any claim against the widow would be limited.

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

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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