A worker fell off our roof, We had a contractor with permits and insurance, he hired a subcontractor ( who doesn't have insurance and we think illegal. His worker fell off the roof. The contractor says that he didn't know the day worker and didn't put him on the roof. Does that mean they are going to come after US, the owner? We didn't't check every worker who came on our roof. The worker has been in the hospital for a month already. We are so worried for him and for US. What is the stature of limitations for them to try to sue US, and what are the chances of a lawyer taking on a case like this, I think they have a probono lawyer. Thanks Ellen.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Your contractor, who has insurance, by hiring the subcontractor, has, by law, agreed to provide workers' compensation coverage for the injured worker. He has this obligation because he hired a subcontractor who is not insured, making the contractor responsible. However, even if both the contractor and subcontractor had workers' compensation coverage, you may still be responsible if the reason the worker fell off the roof is because of something you were aware of, but did not warn the roofers about. Of course, this depends on why the worker fell off the roof. My suggestion would be, if you are worried about the worker, is to suggest he contact an attorney who specializes in workers' compensation, to advise him of his rights as against the contractor under the Florida Workers' Compensation law. That way, he gets his medical care, and lost wages, provided for by the workers' compensation carrier of the contractor - something he is entitled to receive regardless of whether the contractor knew about him, or if he is illegal. An expert workers' compensation attorney would likely take this case.
As to your question on the statute of limitations, it is two years from the date of accident for a workers' compensation claim, for a claim denied in its entirety, with some technical exceptions which are beyond a short answer here. As to a personal injury claim against you, as a negligent homeowner (if such a claim even exists), the statute of limitations, it is four years from the date of accident on a personal injury claim.
Retain private counsel to protect your interests against the contractor and injured worker.