I’ve recently had two very interesting construction accident cases seek counsel on whether they needed a personal injury attorney or workers compensation attorney. What made the cases interesting is that both of the injured workers were hired by private homeowners to do home improvements.
Understandably, the homeowners had not secured, or even considered securing, Florida Worker’s Compensation coverage for the temporary workers they had hired for their home improvement projects. Essentially the issue boiled down to a simple question: Can private homeowners be held responsible for Florida Worker’s Compensation coverage for individuals hired to do home improvements on their personal residence.
In true legal fashion, the short answer is …maybe.
The Law Behind Workers’ Compensation Accidents in Home Improvement Cases
In the cases discussed above, the first worker was injured working on a rental property which was not the homeowner’s primary residence. The second worker was injured at the homeowner’s primary residence which was up for sale. The Florida statute provides protection for construction accidents, or other accidents occurring during home improvements, provided such premises are not intended to be sold, resold, or leased by the owner within one year after the commencement of construction/home improvement. F.S. §440.02(8).
In both cases, after seeking advice of defense counsel, the homeowners acknowledged that they were in fact responsible for Florida Worker’s Compensation coverage for the construction accidents occurring on their properties.
Lessons Learned From Home Improvement Construction Accidents
Both the homeowners and the injured workers learned viable construction accident lessons through these unfortunate incidents. Employees, specifically employees in dangerous industries like construction, should always confirm their employer is actively covered for construction accident and other workers compensation injuries.
The Florida Department of financial services website can confirm whether any employer in Florida is actively covered for workers compensation insurance. Homeowners should also be aware that if they hire workers to make improvements for commercial/rental properties or for their primary residence in preparation for sale, they need to secure Florida Worker’s Compensation coverage to protect their assets.
If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, or any other workplace accident, please contact Michles & Booth for a free initial consultation.