Lots of us have people working in our home for various reasons. It might be domestic help; a self-employed contractor etc. What, if any, liability do you as a householder bear towards them. The answer is quite a lot says Katherine Flashman Kitson, Director & Head of Litigation at Parnalls Solicitors, Launceston.
You are the owner/occupier of the property and as such you have duties to ensure that the property is reasonably safe for anyone lawfully using the property. Accidents can happen for all sorts of reasons. Faulty electrics, a chair breaks, something falls off a shelf, slippery surfaces inside or out. People are always ready to claim where this is public property but can they do the same when it is private property? The answer is yes and the bottom line is you will be liable.
The first port of call is you have insurance with a public liability element. Check the actual terms of your insurance to see whether there are any limitations you should be aware of as regards third party use. However, part of insurance terms and indeed part of your legal responsibilities as a householder is to ensure that things are kept safe and in reasonably good condition and well maintained. Insurance could be invalidated if you don’t. Therefore you ought to adopt a series of regular inspections and regular maintenance to ensure hazards are picked up and are quickly remedied and dealt with, in the same way as the owners of a public property.
You may think that just because a contractor is for example self-employed that it is “not your problem”. That is not the case. Each case will depend on the exact facts of the accident. Not all accidents are actionable and there must be negligence/liability on the part of the property owner. You would be surprised how wide those duties are. If you are the individual who has an accident; get advice; the fact that it has taken place on private property does not defeat a claim.
If in doubt speak to us here at Parnalls Solicitors by calling 01566 772375 or indeed your own insurers to ensure that you do not fall foul of a claim.