Visitor Question

Who is liable for injury while helping a friend repair his home?

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

My husband was helping a co-worker do some repairs on his home to get it ready for sale. While removing a sky light from the roof, my husband fell from the scaffolding and the sky light crushed the bones at the first joint on his left hand ring finger.

My husband works as a maintenance technician, and after having surgery to remove the damaged portion of his finger he will always have varying sensations and some pain when his finger is bumped. The insurance company is stalling settlement based on who is liable. They claim only 50% liability on their insured.

My husband was helping as a friend and was not being paid for his services. Who is liable in this scenario? What else can we do to ensure a proper settlement? Thank you.

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 Anonymous,

We are presuming your husband has been dealing with his co-worker’s homeowners insurance company. Form the facts you present, it appears the co-worker’s insurance company is making their offer based on their belief your husband was partly negligent in having fallen and been injured.

Unfortunately, to be compensated on a homeowner’s claim there must be some showing of negligence on the part of the homeowner. In this case, negligence does not appear to be obvious. In fact, it is arguable the co-worker was not negligent at all.

Your husband has two (2) available routes:

1. He can contact the insurance adjuster and argue his side of the story. To do so, it would be quite helpful if his co-worker also contacted the insurance company to argue the claim on your husband’s behalf.

2. The second route would be not to accept the amount being offered and consult with an attorney. If the amount in question is substantial enough, the attorney might accept the case on a contingency basis. This means the attorney will not charge your husband any amount, unless and until the attorney either settles the case or wins it at trial.

If an attorney won’t accept the case, and your husband is not successful in persuading the insurance company to offer more, he can pursue the matter in small claims court or arbitration. The last option would be to accept the amount and move on.

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: March 20, 2015

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