WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR A CONTRACTOR BEING INJURED OR KILLED ON YOUR COMMERCIAL PROPERTY?

If you hire a contractor to perform services at your business, you might be interested to know that your legal standard of care is different from the duties owed to a customer.  Of course, when a workplace injury occurs to an employee of an independent contractor on your premises, you probably expect workers’ compensation coverage to be available, and it may be.  However, the existence of workers’ compensation coverage might not preclude third-party liability.  In other words, the premises owner or possessor—regardless of whether you lease or own the premises— may still be liable for the injury. The legal analysis of an injury or death of an employee of an independent contractor on your premises is significantly different than that of a customer. Under Florida law, a premises owner or possessor owes two duties to business invitees, including customers: (1) a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition; and (2) a duty to warn of latent dangers. As to an independent contractor, a premises owner or possessor (a lessee) who hires an independent contractor is generally not liable for injuries sustained by that contractor’s employees in performing their work.  That’s true even when the work is dangerous, as long as the risks are disclosed and/or clearly incidental to the work. Of course, every general legal rule has exceptions.  A premises owner or possessor may be held liable for damages sustained by the employee of an independent contractor when (1) the owner or possessor actively participates in or […]

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