Tag: personal injury
A California appellate court ruled that a 6’7” Dish TV installer, who was contracted for through a 3rd party, could not sue a homeowner for negligence when he fell through the roof. The important reminder of the law, which is pretty much the same in all states is as follows:
Limitations on the liability of the hirer of an independent contractor
Plaintiff Gravelin was an independent contractor or the employee of one. “Generally, when the employees of independent contractors are injured in the workplace, they cannot sue the party that hired the contractor to do the work.” (SeaBright Ins. Co. v. US Airways, Inc. (2011) 52 Cal.4th 590, 594, citing Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689 (Privette).) The same rule applies when the independent contractor, rather than his or her employee, is injured. (Tverberg v. Fillner Construction, Inc. (2010) 49 Cal.4th 518, 522.) It therefore does not matter, for purposes of this appeal, whether plaintiff Gravelin was an independent contractor as he asserts, or an employee of one as defendants assert.
The California Supreme Court has explained why the hirer of an independent contractor is usually not held liable for injuries to the contractor or its employees. The independent contractor “has authority to determine the manner in which inherently dangerous . . . work is to be performed, and thus assumes legal responsibility for carrying out the contracted work, including the taking of workplace safety precautions” to protect himself and his employees. (Tverberg, supra, 49 Cal.4th at p. 522 [contractor’s duty to protect himself]; Kinsman v. Unocal Corp. (2005) 37 Cal.4th 659, 671 (Kinsman) [contractor’s duty to protect its employees].) Thus, the hirer will not be held vicariously liable for injuries resulting from the contractor’s negligence in failing to perform its task safely. (Privette, supra, 5 Cal.4th at p. 695.) The remedy for the contractor’s injured employee is workers’ compensation, which is a cost ultimately borne by the contractor’s hirer. (Id. at p. 692.)
The general rule that a contractor and its employees may not recover tort damages from the contractor’s hirer has few exceptions.
To read the case in its entirety go to http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A131333.PDF