Can I be sued by landscaper for wasp stings?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be sued by landscaper for wasp stings?

I hired a company who I now realize may not be an actual company; it is uninsured, unlicensed, etc. I hired them to clean debris and till the yard on a home we just purchased but hadn’t even moved in yet. When they started tilling, they hit an underground yellow jacket nest and he claims 3 guys were severely stung and went to urgent care. They came back out 3 days later to

finish the job but never actually did and is now threatening to sue more for medical expenses and put a mechanic’s lien on property there is a dispute on

payment since I paid him in full but he took some of that payment as

reimbursement for some of the medical expenses and is now saying I didn’t pay him for the actual job. This whole situation is a mess and while I feel bad they were stung, I don’t feel I was neglectful in any way nor should I have to pay but I’m new to home ownership so I don’t know these things yet.Can they actually take our new home from us as they are claiming and sue us for tens of thousands in damages?

Asked on September 18, 2018 under Personal Injury, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) You would be liable for wasp stings ONLY if they can show that you knew about the wasps but despite knowing them, failed to remove the wasps or warn the workers. A failure to take reasonable steps like those to protect people from a known harm is negligent, or careless, and can lead to liability. On the other hand, if you had no idea about the insects, you did nothing wrong and are not liable.
2) If you paid in full, he can't put a lien on your property--your obligation is only to pay the contracted or agreed price. Even if he had other costs (e.g. care), that does not affect your obligation to pay or give him the right to place a lien; rather, his option would be to sue you if he thinks your carelessness cost him money.
3) Even if you were careless and so liable for the stings, the most that you could be sued for, assuming no severe allergic reaction leading to permanent disability or death, would be the out of pocket medical costs incurred as a direct result of this, plus possibley a day or two or three of lost wages/profits if it can be proven that the stung persons couldn't work for a short time due to the stings.
4)  You may wish to tell them that unless they remove the lien and do not sue, you will countersue them for abuse of process (using the legal processes for an improper purpose) and seek sanctions (fines) against them for frivolous litigation, including all of your legal fees.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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