How do you protect yourself from legal action if a yard worker gets injured on your property?

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How do you protect yourself from legal action if a yard worker gets injured on your property?

I have an out-of-work neighbor who would like to do some yard work for me. I’d like to help the guy out, but I’m worried that if he gets hurt on my property that I would be liable. He is definitely not insured. Would a properly worded waiver be sufficient to protect me should something go wrong?

Asked on June 24, 2011 under Personal Injury, Maryland

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you have a situation wherein you if you have a licensee on the property (a visitor). So you need to ensure you don't wilfully harm the person, make sure you inform the person of any hidden dangers (think hidden stuff in the grass), and essentially ensure you are not negligent. You have a situation wherein this person is on your property not as a social guest but as a person who is conducting work on your property. To that end, you can probably write something up for considering him an independent contractor and review the specific disclaimers available in your state but understand you cannot disclaim away liability generally. This essentially means that while you wish to do something nice for your neighbor, unless he has insurance you are probably running into a situation wherein you might be sued if he gets hurt. You should have him check into the possibility of getting insured and see if the cost doesn't outweigh the benefit.


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