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Personal Injury And Home Improvement


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jun 16, 2011 in Bodily Injury

With the “Honey-Do” list in hand, the head of the household embarks every Saturday morning on a project that, if successful, will increase the value of the family home. In many cases, the unfortunate result is an even bigger mess than the original project. Along comes the buddy who claims to be Mr. Fix-It, but lacks adequate knowledge of home repair, which increases the probability of disaster.

What about contractors who botch the job, and maybe even cause damage to the neighbor’s house? Who is liable when the weekend project goes wrong?

Your Own Fault

First, let's get it out of the way that any injuries to you because of your attempts at home improvement are your own responsibility, unless a faulty product is to blame. You can’t file a homeowner’s claim for the medical expenses.

However, you may have a case against the manufacturer of a faulty tool, uninspected rental equipment, or chemicals that cause an adverse reaction not listed on the container. These are all legitimate basis for personal injury action. Your own inexperience should just be a lesson for the next weekend project. Injuries which a friend incurs from your home improvement project may be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, but your friend can also hire an attorney and sue you for the medical damage caused during the project.

If alcohol is involved, the case just got that much more complicated for you, and possibly lucrative for your "friend."

Contractors At Fault

Calling a contractor is a logical choice, but some homeowners may not be safe here as well, because finding a good contractor may be hard, and homeowners don't want to end up with a contractor who takes payment only to either botch the job, or fail to do any work at all.

The state of Indiana has made it easier for homeowners to seek damages from the contractor, with the Indiana home Improvement Act.

Under the act, a contract valued at more than $150 that is verbal or written is actionable in court. The also act dictates the types of measures a contractor must take in order comply with acceptable practices. Failure to do so has consequences, including fines and possible seizure of the business. This is in addition to the actual damages suffered by the homeowner.

Make the next big Saturday project that you undertake a safe one, both medically and legally by updating your homeowner’s insurance and researching a contractor in addition to your read-through of Home Improvement for Dummies. Even the support you get from a friend may lead to court if someone is injured. Pfeifer, Morgan, and Stesiak are personal injury lawyers located in South Bend, and serving Northern Indiana.