When a Roofer Falls off the Roof, Who’s Responsible?

Posted on Roofers working on a home

Building managers and homeowners aren’t expected to know everything about maintenance and repairs for their properties to keep it in pristine condition. This is where contractors come into play, as they are workers who are hired via a contract to perform work. In this case, it would be work done on your property, whether interior or exterior. However, contractor jobs can be dangerous and come with the risk of an injury. Which begs the question — who’s responsible when there’s an accident?

Are You Responsible for Damages?

Honestly, it can go either way, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Simply put, the building owner is generally responsible for contractors working on their property, but there are several exceptions. For example, OSHA decrees that unless the building owner has the role of construction manager, they are not liable for the contractor’s injuries. This is also why it’s so important to make sure your contractors are fully insured and bonded before allowing them to do any work for you.

Are You at Risk of a Lawsuit?

Legally, the responsibility varies from case to case. There are cases where the building owner may be legally liable for the incident. For example, if the incident has been proven to be caused by the building owner’s negligence, they are liable. As a business owner, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of slip and fall litigation.

  • Ensure your contractor has a current license and insurance policy. Ask to see copies of these documents. If they cannot provide them, start looking for a new contractor.
  • Require every contractor to follow OSHA rules and regulations. This doesn’t mean that you need to watch over them and track every action. However, it is important that you let the contractors know what your expectations are.
  • Get everything in writing. You should have a contract in place that releases you from any liability. Additionally, you should have explained to the contractor about all of the potential hazards on the property that can not be changed. This too should also be in writing.

If you find yourself in legal trouble because your roofing contractor slipped and fell or experienced some other accident, you shouldn’t have to worry unless the roofer attempts to press charges. No matter how you are involved, getting professional on your side can then help you argue your side of story clearly and achieve the desired outcome. It’s safest to work with a licensed, bonded, and insured roofing contractor like Slate & Slate Roofing from the beginning. Ask your contractor for their credentials before accepting a bid.

References:

https://www.proremodeler.com/who-liable-injured-subcontractors

https://www.daveabels.com/wet-and-slippery-floors.html

https://simplifiedsafety.com/blog/2015/07/

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3755.pdf

Written by
Terry Slate
Terry is the Vice President of Slate & Slate Roofing and has over 28 years of experience with both residential and commercial roofing. He specializes in metal roofing, composition roofing, and PVC membrane roofing.