Why Homeowners Should Always Demand Workers’ Comp Coverage!

06/24/2010

Quality Service Pro members - it is our responsibility to protect the homeowners we work for by educating them on the importance of hiring smart! - Joe Frank from 1st Choice Payroll Solutions was nice enough to share this information with me concerning a judge ruling made against a homeowner in favor of an injured worker with no workers comp.

At the end of this article is a downloadable PDF I recommend all members print it out to hand out with your estimate packets – it’s vital to our homeowners that they are protected!

Why Homeowners Should Always Demand Workers’ Comp Coverage!

Hiring anyone to work on your home Without Workers’ Compensation is a recipe for financial disaster:

"Accidents Happen." But what most homeowners don't realize is that if a worker is injured on their property, it is you -- the homeowner --who can be held liable for all medical costs unless the employee is covered by workers compensation insurance.

Hospital bills for serious accidents can be extraordinarily expensive and homeowner's insurance policies normally exclude such injuries. That’s why it is so important to hire an approved pro!

Here is just one of many true stories that illustrate this problem: Orlando Sentinel / August 25, 2002 – By Robert Bruss, Tribune Media Services.

Joseph Truman hired Anthony's Tree Service (ATS) to trim his tall trees for $450. ATS's owner, Eliseo, gave Truman his business card describing ATS services such as topping, trimming, tree removal and
cleaning trees.

The business card listed a license number so Truman concluded the Company was experienced and capable of doing the tree trimming. The license number, however, was for an expired city business license and did not assure ATS was capable to doing the dangerous tree trimming work.

When Truman asked ATS Owner Eliseo for evidence of his workers' compensation insurance on his tree trimmer employees, he showed Truman an expired policy. Eliseo promised to bring the current policy the next day when the tree trimming was to begin.

But the next day, before tree trimming began, Eliseo told Truman he forgot to bring the current workers' compensation insurance policy. However, Truman allowed work to begin because he figured the license number on the ATS business card meant there was adequate insurance.

Unfortunately, ATS tree trimmer employee Miguel was severely injured when he fell from a tall tree. Upon learning his employer, ATS, had no workers' compensation insurance, Miguel sued homeowner Truman. When Truman contacted his homeowner's insurance company, he learned he was not insured for this type of injury because Miguel was not Truman's direct household employee.

If you were the judge, would you rule Truman is liable to tree trimmer Miguel for his injury damages?

Well, the judge ruled YES he was.

Because ATS was uninsured for workers’ compensation, the judge explained, Truman became the employer of Miguel. Therefore, homeowner Truman was obligated to provide workers' compensation insurance benefits to the injured Miguel.

This type of very dangerous work does not come within the household employee exception for coverage under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) rules, the judge emphasized. At the very least, the judge continued, homeowner Truman should have verified the ATS workers' compensation insurance policy.

Therefore, homeowner Truman can be held liable to Miguel for his uninsured injuries, the judge ruled.

Workers compensation coverage adds considerable cost to job overhead. These expenses could be the cause of wide variations in prices between contractors who follow the standards versus those who choose to ignore them.

For more information on Hiring Smart and how to protect yourself from uninsured and/or unlicensed contractors please visit www.qualityservicepros.com click on the hire smart tab.

Quality Service Pro members - is it our responsibility to protect the homeowners we work for by educating them on the importance of hiring smart! - Joe Frank from 1st Choice Payroll Solutions was nice enough to share this information with me concerning a judge ruling made against a homeowner in favor of an injured worker with no workers comp.
At the end of this article is a downloadable PDF I recommend all members print it out to hand out with your estimate packets – it’s vital to our homeowners that they are protected!

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