handyman injured on my property - Posted by Anne_ND
Posted by Anne_ND on August 07, 2003 at 17:54:36:
First of all, I screwed up big time here and I know it. I’m posting this as a lesson to others as well as asking for ethical and legal advice.
An itinerant handyman who is a skilled carpenter and has done quite a bit of work for me in the past called me to ask if he could do some work for me- he’s on his last dollar.
I said sure, and he’s been doing the exterior painting on one of my rental properties. It’s the only house owned in my name (first one I bought before incorporating, I’m about to sell it).
He’s been storing his paint and ladders in an old garage on the property, and he stepped on a board that had a nail in it, the nail went into his foot. He went to the hospital, got an x-ray and a tetanus shot and they told him to stay off of it for a few days.
I’m NOT worried about getting sued. He’s a vet and the VA is paying his bills except for medicine. I knew going into this that because he has no liability insurance nor health insurance (other than VA) that there was some non-zero risk of his being injured, but frankly I took that risk because he’s done great work for me in the past (when he was working as an employee under a different contractor) and he really needed the work. Also he does great work and was charging me a very reasonable $12.50/hr.
I plan to reimburse him for the $38 tetanus shot, which is so far his only medical cost out of pocket. I told him to take as much time as he needed before coming back on the job.
What else should I do? As I said, I know he’s not going to sue me, but if he were to, I have a $2M personal umbrella policy as well as a policy on the house itself. Next step is to go over there and get rid of the boards in the garage. What if he’s unable to work for a while? I don’t want to do anything to admit liability such as give him a check, but I’m willing to give him some cash to help him out.
I’d be interested in any opinions, legal or otherwise. I’ve got a call in to my attorney and hope to hear from him in the next few days (he’s on vacation). As I said there’s no immediate legal problem, but I want to do the right thing by this guy.