Anyone can get hurt. It can be an accident, someone else’s fault, or their own. But when it comes to remodeling projects, the involvement of the homeowner and contractor they agreed upon is specified through basic sets of documents, namely, plans, specifications, reports, and contract terms.
Despite the agreement, they face contractual relationships that may turn to chaos and confusion. This is why the ‘AIA A201 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction’ were established. This document is the go-to source when certain legal issues arise from a project.
The question is who is liable for injuries during remodeling projects? This article strives to answer this.
Contractor Or Homeowner: Differences And Acts Of Services
A homeowner hires a general contractor who is responsible for the overall project. And the general contractor may partner up with subcontractors to finish other work. For instance, a homeowner hires a general contractor to add a skylight and help keep it clean and maintained. The general contractor may hire roof cleaning services for maintenance. They are considered subcontractors in this example.
Homeowners usually review the plans of what they want and when they need someone else’s help to work on their premises. According to the AIA A201 document (Article 2.2), regardless of the commencement of the project, the contractor has no certain obligations to complete the work until the homeowner provides such evidence of arrangements.
Once the arrangements are fulfilled and prices are negotiated, the homeowner can expect the contractor to complete its work duly. They’ll be able to sue for such damages under contract law.
That’s why homeowners and contractors alike should be in touch with a lawyer when they start a remodeling project. It’s advised that they hire a lawyer in the area where the project is located. Say the project is in Austin, Texas. They should look into accident attorneys Austin has to offer so that they have somebody to call when an incident occurs on the site.
Contractor Or Homeowner: Responsibilities, Liabilities, And Risks
Determining liability isn’t complicated as it may seem to be. When certain things go downhill and injuries or accidents happen, the general contractor is most likely to have taken the blame. After all, they’re responsible for gathering the sources and supplies, hiring a team, and ensuring that everything is working efficiently as possible.
However, certain projects present challenges for prevailing parties and claim adjusters in settling who is truly liable. There was a time when homeowners and contractors weren’t held liable. A particular shift occurred when the number of subcontractors increased, and subcontractors hired another group of subcontractors.
Since then, things have become more challenging for those who sustained damage to pursue legal action because of poor subcontracting. Consequently, homeowners and general contractors are being blamed for such issues—but not all the time.
In fact, general contractors safeguard themselves and ensure subcontractors have their third-party insurance to help protect them from lawsuits. In this case, if a subcontractor gets injured, then the general contractor isn’t liable. The general contractor doesn’t need to supervise each detail of the subcontractor’s work. They become liable if they maintain control of the overall work performed.
During a project, the homeowners must request proof of insurance before proceeding with any work. They’re not to blame unless they take control of the project or direct the job site. In this case, homeowners can reduce the risks by doing a home inspection for potential issues. They can then relay inspection findings to the contractor to help mitigate such risks.
Contractor Or Homeowner: In Compliance with AIA Standards
There are specific scenarios when the responsibilities and levels of liabilities should be looked into. The AIA A201 document states that the general contractor is accountable for and takes control over the means, techniques, methods, procedures, and sequences. That is, they are in charge of the overall safety of the job site.
The contractor is also held responsible for the actions of the subcontractors and sub-subcontractors toward any costs, damages, expenses, or losses. Lastly, it is the contractor’s job to ensure that all materials and equipment are damage-free.
These outline what a general contractor is liable for during projects:
- Costs, damages, and liabilities resulting from the performance of work.
- Death and injury of subcontractors and team members.
- Immigration reform and control acts.
Aside from maintaining a safe environment, having detailed contracts and proper insurance can prevent lengthy lawsuits in case of injuries during remodeling projects. Moreover, certain details should be considered carefully to ensure fair and accurate judgment when deciding who is liable.
The general contractor is usually liable for injuries during remodeling projects. Third-party insurance and some rules and regulations can vary. Therefore, hiring a reputable lawyer is the best course of action.