If you’re planning on remodeling your home soon, then you should make safety your top priority. Home remodels are serious undertakings that can cause many different injuries. This applies to both do-it-yourself (DIY) remodels and those that are completed by a contractor. While injuries can happen with either approach, hiring a contractor means that you might be liable for injuries that they sustain during your remodel.
With most personal injuries, liability requires negligence on the property manager’s behalf. As a homeowner, you are the property manager and this means ensuring that you don’t send an unprepared contractor into a dangerous environment. To help you prioritize safety during your home remodel, we’ll cover injuries that can arise from both DIY and contractor projects below.
One of the more significant sources of injuries during a home remodel is pre-existing defects. This applies to any fault with your house that causes an injury. It can be something like a rotten deck or any other component of your house that is in a weakened condition. While pre-existing defects can certainly trip you up during a DIY remodel, it’s particularly relevant for having a contractor working on your house.
During a DIY remodel, you’re likely to avoid a dangerous defect because you know about it, but it can still injure you if you aren’t careful or don’t know that it exists. If you fail to disclose a defect in your house and a contractor gets injured because of it, then this will make you liable for their injury. For example, imagine that you have a rotten deck in your backyard. You might hire a contractor to work on your backyard and they sustain an injury falling through your rotten deck. This would be an injury that you are responsible for. To free yourself from this, you need to make your contractor aware of any potential hazards and ensure that they aren’t in a situation to be affected by them.
Power Tool Misuse
A hazard that is especially dangerous for a DIY remodel is power tool misuse. To properly remodel your house, you’ll inevitably need a variety of power tools to get the job done. This will vary from a drill to a saw and anything in between. These tools are powerful and pack quite a punch. This is fantastic when it comes to precisely cutting a piece of wood or drilling in some nails, but this power can be used against you.
If you aren’t careful with your power tools, you can make a mistake and wind up with a serious injury. This varies in severity depending on the tool used and how you messed up, but you can easily get cut, impaled, or even lose a finger. The reason why this is relevant for DIY remodeling is that you may not be fully familiar with how to use power tools. On the other hand, contractors use power tools daily and are more comfortable with using them. As a side note, if a contractor injures themselves using a power tool as a routine part of the remodel process, then you won’t be liable for their injuries.
Inadequate Ladder Safety
You should also be wary of using ladders. Ladders are useful tools and might be a necessity if you need to do work on your roof or the outside of your house. However, they can quickly lead to an injury from falling if they aren’t properly secured. For a DIY remodel, the problem arises in the fact that you’re likely to be working alone. This means that you won’t have anyone to hold your ladder and ensure that it’s stable. Even if you’re careful about placing the ladder in a safe place, it can shift while you’re climbing. Once you’re already up on the ladder, it’s too late to adjust it. As a result, you might fall and seriously hurt yourself. Contractors are also susceptible to ladder injuries. While it’s less common, it can still happen if they are rushing or neglect proper safety. If a contractor fails to use adequate ladder safety, then you aren’t responsible for their injuries.
Failing to Block the Area Off
If you don’t yet know, then you also need to make sure that you block off the remodel area. Anytime you’re remodeling part of your house, it probably isn’t a process that finishes in just a day. Instead, it will likely take several days or even weeks to complete the project. This means that the area you’re remodeling will be a constant work in progress. As a result, there will likely be materials, tools, and debris in the surrounding area. All of these items can cause an injury if someone falls, bumps into something, or steps on something sharp.
For example, imagine having younger children that enjoy running around and playing. They might roam into a room that you’re remodeling and step on a nail. Not only will this cause them a lot of pain, but you’ll also need to pay for a doctor’s visit. Fortunately, this is avoidable by making sure that the remodel area is not easily accessible. Until an area is finished, it should be sectioned off and closed unless it’s actively being worked on.
Giving Direction Leads to Liability
One last thing you should know is that giving directions and supervising a contractor’s work will make you liable for their injuries. For the most part, any injuries that a contractor sustains as a result of working on your house will not be your responsibility. There are exceptions to this like having a pre-existing fault that you failed to inform them about. Alternatively, if they get injured from something like a power tool, then this ordinarily is not your responsibility. However, there is a key exception to this that you need to keep in mind.
If a contractor gets injured while doing something in a way that you specifically instructed them to do, then you will be liable for their injuries. This means that telling a contractor to use a power tool in a certain way will make you responsible for the outcome. When you’re working with your contractor, consider whether you want to be hands-on or hands-off with your oversight. Just know that being hands-on means that you need to be careful about what you tell them to do!
Remodeling your home is an exciting project because it means you get to experience something new and have your house just the way you want it. However, there’s a good possibility of sustaining an injury if you don’t prioritize safety during the remodel. A few ways that injuries occur include pre-existing defects, power tool misuse, inadequate ladder safety, and failing to block off an unfinished area. When you’re using a contractor, you are not liable for their injuries unless you neglect to tell them about existing defects or specifically instruct them to work in ways that cause them to get injured.
As you can see, there are several ways to get injured during a home remodel and this is not something you want to deal with. Make sure that you’re always being careful and don’t let your family members wander into a dangerous situation!
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