What to do if an independent contractor gets hurt on the job?

I own a small home repair business and would like to hire an occasional laborer. I do not want to take on an employee at this time, but do need help from time to time with bigger projects. Can I hire an individual as a laborer and still be protected, and if so what do I need to do to protect my business if the laborer gets hurt?

Asked on August 30, 2011 Virginia


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you hire a laborer as an independent contractor, you cannot necessarily avoid being sued for injuries generally speaking because you cannot disclaim from that but you should consult with your local business incubator or commerce associations about whether there are precautionary contracts you can draw upon. Ultimately, you want to make sure this person is not an employee and that you also take precautions when you are with this person. The person you bring on should not be on a job alone; at the very least you want someone there you can trust. Consider speaking with a local attorney who handles small business owner issues especially in the fields of construction and electrical repair, where most injuries occur.

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