Q: If I hire someone to shovel the snow off my roof and they fall and get hurt, am I liable?
The snowfall here has been so heavy this year, and I’ve worried about how damaging its weight can be on my house. I’m too old to get up on the roof myself, so I hired a guy down the street to come over and shovel the snow off the house for me. Now my wife is telling me that I shouldn’t have done that because if he falls, he can sue us. Is that true?
A: Unless you specifically do something negligent that causes him to get hurt, he probably wouldn’t have legal ground to stand on if he wanted to sue you. However, if he did attempt to sue, you would be protected by your homeowners insurance premises liability coverage, which would cover damages (if you are deemed liable) and any legal fees you may accrue in your defense.
If you hired a contracting company to do the work, the same would hold true, though they would likely already be covered by their own business insurance policy.
In the meantime, thank your neighbor for agreeing to do the shoveling for you, tell him to please not get hurt, and try to refrain from throwing snowballs at him while he’s up there.