Is a Homeowner Liable for Contractor Injuries?

Home contractor injuries can make a dent in your wallet, and your home insurance policy.

Injuries happen. Slips, trips, and falls are an everyday occurrence. When it’s on your property though, contractor injuries can make you potentially liable.

Your worst nightmare comes true — a home contractor gets hurt building your new open plan kitchen. Those support beams are pretty unwieldy.

Surely, contractor injuries are their employers’ responsibility, you think. But wait a minute, who is their employer?

How to write an affidavit for Ontario courts if you get sued. 

Engineers in constructing site

What Happens When You Hire Contractors

General contractors are employers when they hire subcontractors. Hiring your own trades can make you the “constructor” under section 23(1) of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Read the Act.

You could be responsible for not only supervising contractors’ work, but ensuring their health and safety. What’s more, home renovation contractors working alone may be exempt from Ontario Worker Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) regulations. WSIB’s no-fault workplace insurance coverage for employees doesn’t extend to independent contractor injuries. 

Unlicensed contractors put you particularly at risk. Think twice before hiring a contractor who insists on being paid in cash.

Your Occupier Duty of Care

Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act gives homeowners an obligatory duty of care to prevent contractor injuries by ensuring your home, land, and property like water, vehicles, or portable structures are safe. 

Personal injury lawsuits hinge on proving you were negligent, and that resulted in contractor injuries or other harms. Successfully suing for contractor injuries requires a legal claim to satisfy all four elements of negligence law:

  1. You had a duty of care.
  2. That duty was breached.
  3. The breach was caused by your actions or inactions. 
  4. The breach resulted in the contractor injuries, or other damages.

Documents to give a personal injury lawyer for court. 

5 Types of Injuries in Construction

Construction workers’ highest cause of injury, the five most common injuries, include:

  1. Slips, trips, and falls from loose debris, clutter, bad lighting, or other household hazards.
  2. Falls from heights, such as climbing on a roof without a safety harness, or using a poorly maintained ladder.
  3. Vehicle mishaps caused by poor visibility, distractions, or backing up without warning.  
  4. Struck by flying or falling objects while working under scaffolding, or around loose materials like boards.
  5. Electrocution from electrical shock or arc flash from improperly grounded wires, unsafe equipment operation, or exposed electrical parts.

What new home construction lawyers look for. 


Steps to Take Before Hiring Contractors

Before you hire anyone:

  • Ask to see their trades licence.
  • Verify if they are registered in the Skilled Trades Ontario Public Register. Not all trades are registered. Check the list here.
  • Ask electrical contractors for their Electrical Safety Authority/Electrical Contractor Registration Agency license number. Confirm their licence is valid.  
  • Get three or more references for past work.
  • Request an insurance liability certificate showing they have commercial general liability insurance, or pay into WSIB.
  • Ask your municipal building permits office about local licensing requirements. For example, Toronto requires building renovators to have a municipal licence and signed contract with a homeowner.

How to settle a dispute without going to court. 

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Axess Law works with you when you refinance your mortgage to make home renovations, or buy a new build home for a builder or developer. 

We take instructions from banks, credit unions, trust companies, or private lenders when you arrange a new mortgage. Axess Law’s licensed real estate lawyers witness your signature on legal documents your lender requires to finalize your mortgage transaction.

New home builds can be fraught with legal problems unless you get the purchase agreement right to begin with. Axess Law reviews the fine print in your new build sales contract to ensure it includes clauses that protect your legal and financial interests.

How to deal with new home delays

Construction delays can be annoying. Keep your new build home purchase on track by emailing your documents to Axess Law’s virtual real estate lawyer. We witness your signature online, and send you a copy for your records. 

If your new home builder is taking far too long to deliver the home they promised you, you may be owed compensation or even have the right to cancel your contract. Axess Law goes over your contract to ensure that it covers contingencies that protect you as a new home buyer. 

Revise agreements of purchase and sale after you sign. 

Remove construction liens from home renovators who have a grievance about their bill. Axess Law searches title to your property to ensure it’s clear. We show you how to add family members to property title in Ontario, and can even draft a personal Will to include a legally married spouse or common law partner.

Make a property title transfer (Ontario).   

Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are 

Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario  when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it. 

Find a real estate lawyer near you. 

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