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Worker’s Compensation Insurance Protects Contractors From Lawsuits Brought By Its Employees Injured On The Job And That Same Immunity May Extend To Homeowners Who Hire Those Contractors

When a boss buys worker’s compensation insurance, he gets two very important benefits.  First, worker’s compensation insurance will pay the medical bills of employees who are hurt on the job.  Second, the boss is buying for itself immunity from lawsuits brought by the employees who are injured at work.  See, Tucker v. Action Equipment and Scaffold Co., 113 Nev. 1349, 951 P.2d 1027 (1997).  But what happens when the employee is doing work for the boss on someone else’s property?  Does the boss’s immunity protect the property owner as well as the boss?  Or can the employee sue the property owner for negligence?

Ladder1 The case of Richards v. Republic Silver State Disposal, 122 Nev. 1213, 148 P.3d 684, (2006) answers those questions.  In Richards, the Nevada Supreme Court held that a property owner who hires a licensed Nevada Contractor to perform construction work, or repairs on their property is entitled to the same worker’s compensation immunity that the employer enjoys.  The rationale is that in hiring an insured licensed contractor, the property owner contributes to or subsidizes the cost of the contractor’s worker’s compensation insurance.  Therefore, the property owner should get the benefits of that worker’s compensation insurance, including the same immunity from liability.  However, there is a significant caveat:  the injury must arise from risks associated with the work contracted.  The employee of a roofing contractor who falls off a ladder when carrying shingles to the roof will not be allowed to pursue a negligence claim against the property owner for his injuries.  However, that same employee could overcome any claim of immunity by the property owner if the owner convinced the employee to help fix the plumbing.

If you have a case where a trade worker has been injured on a homeowner’s property, give us a call and let us help you determine whether the homeowner will be able to claim that all important immunity.

Mills & Associates Insurance Lawyers 702-240-6060

About Michael Mills

Mr. Mills practices in the area of civil litigation and appeals, with particular experience in matters involving trucking liability, insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability, products liability and defense of personal injury. Mr. Mills is a member of the Trucking Insurance Defense Association, the Defense Research Institute Trucking Committee and the Nevada Motor Transport Association. Mr. Mills is licensed to practice before the Nevada Supreme Court and the Utah Supreme Court. He is also licensed to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Nevada and Utah, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Mills has created 3 Blogs for the benefit of the insurance industry. He serves as editor and publisher of the Nevada Insurance Law Blog, the Nevada Coverage and Bad Faith Blog and the Nevada Trucking Law Blog.

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