When looking for service providers to work on your home or other property, beware of uninsured contractors! One of our customers recently reported a rather scary situation that reinforces the need to hire only licensed, bonded, and insured contractors.
An Injured Tree Trimmer
A homeowner insurance customer had a young man knock on her front door and offer to trim the palm trees in her yard. He quoted a very reasonable price and assured our customer he was experienced and had all the proper safety equipment. Our customer agreed to let him do the work and soon the tree trimmer had scaled up a palm tree and was busy removing dead fronds.
About 30 minutes later the homeowner heard loud yelling from the front yard. She ran outside to investigate and discovered the young man on the ground writhing in pain. His safety gear failed and he had fallen approximately 40 feet. The homeowner called an ambulance and the injured tree trimmer was quickly rushed to the hospital for treatment. His injuries included several deep lacerations on his arms and hands, a broken foot, and a broken arm. The tree trimmer spent 2 days in the hospital and was unable to work for several months.
The Attorney Letter
Several weeks after the tree trimmer was injured, our customer received a not-so-friendly letter from an attorney. The tree trimmer, via his attorney, claimed the homeowner was negligent and demanded his medical bills and lost wages be paid by the homeowner. The very upset customer then called us to file a liability claim on her homeowner insurance.
Beware of Uninsured Contractors!
Although our customer, the homeowner, may be able to successfully dispute the tree trimmers liability claim, it will a long and unpleasant process. Any contractor you hire – whether it be a tree trimmer or a tradesman – should be properly licensed, bonded and carry general liability and workers compensation insurance. Verifying this before work begins can help prevent a messy situation for the homeowner should an injury or property damage occur.