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  #1  
Old 07-26-2011, 09:43 AM
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Law based question - Contractor

This is not a car question - but your guidance would be appreciated.

Do you have a suggestion how I could hire a freelance carpenter that is not insured and not put myself in legal jeopardy if he would get hurt working on my house?

I have some carpentry repair work needed done at my house.

I know a carpenter that can do the work.

He does not have business/liability insurance.

Is there a creative way I can hire him, but not be sued if he get hurt repairing my house?

The work is on the second floor - out side.

My insurance carrier reminded me of the dangers of hiring some one without insurance. With business insurance, the carpenter would be viewed, by the law, as a separate entity, and not considered my employee. So if he get hurt, he could not approach me as his boss. That made sense to me.

I currently have $500,000 liability insurance, butr that may not cover contractor work.

I want to give the guy a break, but don't want to risk my finances.

hmmmmmm

Thanks for your suggestions.

BTW - the work is all wood based - replacing some wood that is rotten.
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'86 560SL (186K) - Now a 'classic' : Registered as an Historic Vehicle
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2011, 09:47 AM
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Pay him cash off the books, don't sign a contract. What carpenter?
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  #3  
Old 07-26-2011, 09:59 AM
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A shotgun, a spade and the neighbor's yard is all which is required to forestall any insurance claim from an injured un-licensed contractor.
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  #4  
Old 07-26-2011, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt L View Post
A better option is for your friend to get a business license and purchase business insurance. That's likely a lot cheaper than your homeowner's insurance now - much less after a claim.
This is NJ you're talking about -- nothing there is cheap. May be better for him to stay off the state's radar.
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  #5  
Old 07-26-2011, 10:22 AM
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I don't know what sort of insurance he would get that would protect you from liability, unless he is going to have others on the job with him who might get hurt. If you are worried that the carpenter will get hurt and make a claim against you, then I think you would be looking to your own insurance for protection. As a major caveat, I have no idea how things are done in New Jersey, so treat these as food for thought.

You might want to run all of this by your insurance agent.
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  #6  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:42 AM
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The house is in PA

This is a cabin I bought - foreclosure deal. Yes some work is needed

So, the law of the land is PA

My PA based nsurance agent told me to have him buy his own insurance (about $800), and register with the local government.

This would keep him covered, and insure there was an arm length's transaction that would ensure he is not perceived as my employee.

I was hoping to buy a special policy for me - for his work. But insurance agent said no, they don't sell that. I was also thinking he could 'join' another contractor, but that would cost him money also.

I feel bad. I want him to make some money. He has assured me he is careful and will not get injured. Oh I wish that were true.
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Thanks for the help
Bill Fisher

'86 560SL (186K) - Now a 'classic' : Registered as an Historic Vehicle
'95 E420 (198K)
'99 E320 (80K)
'03 LS430 (Lexus)
- - - - -
'95 E420 (231K) Sold to a happy buyer, new to Mercedes
'90 300E (65K) Sold to an Mercedes Lover
'92 190E (215K) - retired to the salvage yard, sigh
'93 500SEL (214K) - Moved to another family, still runs like a young pup
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  #7  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tivoliman View Post
I feel bad. I want him to make some money. He has assured me he is careful and will not get injured. Oh I wish that were true.
Take the risk, pay cash. Everything's a risk. You did make a mistake by talking about the situation to others, though.
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  #8  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:11 PM
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Here is the thing. I my state there is this little thing about knowing something or not. Since you know he is not insured, then there is a great chance you will be liable. But if you did not know, it would be MUCH easier to get off the hook.

We run into this in really old houses that were long ago converted to apartments. If we suspect that the electrical work was not done right, we can continue to suspect but essentially ignore it. But if we hire a contractor to look at it and find out that indeed apartment 1 has some power coming off of apartment 2's meter, then we MUST fix it.
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  #9  
Old 07-26-2011, 04:45 PM
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Do a cost analysis on what it would cost you if he fell and was paralyzed for life verses just hiring someone with insurance.
Sound like your the only one at risk here.
I would hire somebody with insurance.
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  #10  
Old 07-26-2011, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Local2ED View Post
Do a cost analysis on what it would cost you if he fell and was paralyzed for life verses just hiring someone with insurance.
Sound like your the only one at risk here.
I would hire somebody with insurance.
x2
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  #11  
Old 07-26-2011, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LandYaghtLover View Post
Here is the thing. I my state there is this little thing about knowing something or not. Since you know he is not insured, then there is a great chance you will be liable. But if you did not know, it would be MUCH easier to get off the hook.

We run into this in really old houses that were long ago converted to apartments. If we suspect that the electrical work was not done right, we can continue to suspect but essentially ignore it. But if we hire a contractor to look at it and find out that indeed apartment 1 has some power coming off of apartment 2's meter, then we MUST fix it.
In either case, unfortunately thanks to Lawyers, you could be liable.
Wifee's a claims adjuster, commercial insurance, had a guy fall off an apartment building. He had provided proof of insurance (or his boss did I don't remember), but it was fake.

Guess who's insurance is up paying his bills.
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  #12  
Old 07-26-2011, 07:52 PM
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Don't do it, my uncle did and it cost him a few hundred thousand dollars.

Its not any cheaper, if he does get hurt and lawyer up you will lose a lot of money.

Its always cheaper not to cut corners and hire someone legit.

A lot of trades people have substance abuse problems, seems to run with the business for some reason. Their is a reason he is down on his luck, all you need is for him to get high/drunk and cut off his fingers.
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  #13  
Old 07-26-2011, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tivoliman View Post
Do you have a suggestion how I could hire a freelance carpenter that is not insured and not put myself in legal jeopardy if he would get hurt working on my house?
None of the aforementioned answers are correct.

As a homeowner and a Landlord, the following is factual:

If you have homeowners insurance on your own home, and an individual gets hurt working there, the homeowners insurance policy will cover the loss. This is definitely the situation in NY.

If you have a rental property, however, there is no homeowners insurance, and you must carry workmens compensation insurance for such a situation. Otherwise, the worker can sue you for the fact that he injured himself on your property and you are definitely liable.
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  #14  
Old 07-26-2011, 08:58 PM
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I disagree. Post #4 IS the correct answer! Now if you want to talk "legal" or "ethical"...
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  #15  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt L View Post
Two things wrong here.

1. Your insurance can run out, and you're liable for the rest.

2. You get a limited number of claims before your insurance company dumps you and you have to get something for a LOT more money. Don't let people with no "skin in the game" affect whether you need to make a claim.
1. So could his, and then your insurance or you personally would still be on the hook. If you have adequate homeowners' liability, this shouldn't be an issue.
2. What are the actual chances of his getting hurt on the job?
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