Is a waiver signed by a licensed contractor that releases my liability for injuries in my home enforceable in court?

If a licensed contractor that owns a company is not required to have workers’ comp coverage for himself. Only his or her employees are required to have coverage. I have read that if a contractor without workers’ comp is injured while working at a home the homeowner is liable for his hospital bills regardless who is at fault. I have also read that a homeowner is only liable if there is negligence in the upkeep of the home that causes the injury. Which is correct? ?If I hire a licensed contractor and the owner without workers comp works on the project could I have him sign a waiver that releases my liability?

Asked on February 7, 2015 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) A homeowner is not an insurer and is also not strictly liable; he or she is only liable if at fault, typically from allowing or causing a dangerous condition.

2) A liability waiver has some value, but is far from absolute protection. You can get people to waive liability from known or obvious risks of what they are doing, but they can't waive liability from unforeseeable risks. So, for example, loose gutter or dead tree branch falls on someone who was there to work inside the home, not on a gutter or tree--that was not foreseeable, and so they can't waive liability.


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