Visitor Question

Liability if handyman fell in my yard?

Submitted By: A (USA)

A handyman slipped on snow covered, uneven ground in my side yard, injuring his shoulder. He had a prior injury to his opposite arm and shoulder and favored that side. He lost his balance while carrying a rather heavy box on snow covered, uneven ground through the side yard. I paid him $45 dollars cash to clean out my garage in order to have room to store my van.

He does not have nor can he afford insurance.

Am I responsible for his injuries? Will he share some responsibility since he had prior injuries and was taking a risk walking with the heavy box on the dangerous terrain?

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 A,

You will likely be responsible for some or all of his injuries. You have a couple of choices. You can ignore the matter and see if the handyman pursues it. If he chooses to pursue the matter, contact your homeowners insurance company and let them handle it. They will investigate and determine whether the man’s prior injuries affected his current injuries, and will compensate him accordingly.

With homeowners insurance the handyman will not have to prove you were negligent. Homeowners insurance basically pays for injuries without concern for who was at fault.

If you don’t have homeowners insurance, and the handyman pursues the matter, he will have to prove your were negligent. To do so he will need to prove your failure to remove the snow constituted negligence. That will be hard to do. If his injuries aren’t serious, he may not be able to find an attorney to take his case.

In that case, unless he decides to sue you in small claims court, you really won’t have much to worry about.

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: January 16, 2014

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