It seemed like a simple task. You just needed someone to do some painting on the house. John, the painter, gave you a reasonable quote to do the work so you hired him. John fell off his ladder and sustained severe injuries. John didn’t have workers’ compensation insurance or any medical insurance. Then, one day in the mail you get a letter from an attorney representing John and the notice of lawsuit.
Property Owners should be aware they might be found liable for injuries sustained by “uninsured” contractors working on your property. Some states have various labor laws that impose liability upon contractors and property owners that could result in huge litigation cost to the property owner in addition to being held responsible for the contractor’s injuries.
Regardless of the task, lawn care, painting, plumbing, general repair, whatever, you should only hire an “insured” contractor and require proof of insurance in the form of a Certificate of Insurance issued by the contractor’s insurance agent. As a minimum the contractor should have general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. The Certificate of Insurance should indicate that the contractor himself is covered for workers’ compensation. In North Carolina contractors can purchase a workers’ compensation policy, but exclude themselves from coverage thus getting a policy for a minimum premium and still obtain a Certificate of Insurance that says they purchased a workers’ compensation policy. These policies are referred to as “Ghost” workers’ compensation policies.
Don’t take a chance. Hire an “insured” contractor for any job on your property and require a proper Certificate of Insurance. If you have any questions regarding the coverage shown on the certificate contact the agent who issued it and ask them about the coverage.