Am I liable here?? - Posted by Mike

Posted by John(NH) on January 26, 1999 at 10:40:15:

Just because she called you doesn’t mean you have to talk to her.

Am I liable here?? - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on January 25, 1999 at 15:21:54:


I’d like to get some advice from the pros out there. I currently own a bldg which is undergoing some rehab. When I bought the property, one of the people that was living there asked if he could stay on the premises during construction and I would pay him a small fee. The fee is basically to make sure the property is secure and that nobody vandalizes the place while it’s vacant. A couple of weeks ago this person tripped on a hose that my contractor left in the stairway and this person sprained his neck and hurt his back. Today I got a call from an attorney asking me questions about the contractor. She was trying to see if he owns the construction company that is working there. It seems the injured person wants to sue my contractor.

My question is this. What potential liability have I got here. I’m assuming that somewhere in this mess, somebody’s going to be coming after me. When I talked the lawyer, she told me that it doesn’t sound as though I’m at fault, which I definitely am not. But we all know how the justice system works.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Re: Am I liable here?? - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on January 26, 1999 at 24:57:29:

One piece of advice…if you want answers to these types of questions call your own lawyer, someone who represents you.

DO NOT speak with the injured parties lawyer.


Your ins. co. will handle it. - Posted by Andrew Smith (Phila)

Posted by Andrew Smith (Phila) on January 25, 1999 at 18:24:41:

If you get sued your insurance company will handle it. I was sued for a trip & fall and simply turned it over to my ins. co. and never thought about it again. I don’t even know if they fought it or just paid them a few grand to go away. If you are flipping the house I would try to do so as quickly as possible before you are named in a suit. Check with a title company - even when you have adequate insurance coverage it may create a title problem if you attempt to transfer the property after you have been named in a suit but before the suit has been resolved. Good luck. P.S. I am not sure I would have done what you did but I do know that if I had - the person staying in the home would have signed a waiver of liability promising not to name me in any law suit and to protect and indemnify me in the event any suit was brought and to cover all legal costs including court fees and attorneys.

Re: Am I liable here?? - Posted by Bill Gatten

Posted by Bill Gatten on January 25, 1999 at 16:45:27:


'Don’t mean to be a bearer of bad tidings, but you may have been put in the position of being the main Soo-ee (as it were), and may end up having to subrogate the contractor for the claim you or your insurance company has to pay out. My ‘betcha’ is that the second you asked the attorney if you could be liable, she probaly went “Ahah! Got him!” I doubt that she called to get the name of the contractor, she probably called to get her info straight on you. Attorneys! Argh! They’re like those little sticky candies that you find in your box of chocolates that no one one likes, but your eat 'em anywy, because someone esle already got all the good pieces, and you haven’t had lunch yet… but then you only eat half and spit out the rest, and it falls on the sleeve of your white shirt, and then you have to go to the store to buy spot remover, and … (Oh never mind, I just hate 'em… except for the honest ones: now that makes a lot of sense!!).

Unsolicited advice: I hate to pile doo-doo on doo-doo, but you probably ought’a see an attorney.

Best of luck,


Re: Am I liable here?? - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on January 26, 1999 at 07:24:04:


Thanks for the advice, but the injured parties lawyer called me. I didn’t call her.

I just wanted to know what liability I might have here.