Research reveals that the vast majority of people across the UK (81%) rely on others to help out in the home. Despite this, over two fifths (42%) admit they don’t take any steps to safeguard their home such as clearing stairways and ensuring wiring is safe, which could leave them legally liable in the event of an accident.
I have recently had lots of work done in my home and never once thought of their rights. In fact some of the people I had doing work actually damaged my flooring and sink. I knew my rights, yet I did not know I had to protect myself legally too whilst they were in the property.
It can be quite distressing if someone has an accident whilst working in your home, whilst some of the steps you must take if this happens are straightforward and I would do without thinking, they are other things that I had just never thought of before. Here is some advice on what to do if someone has an accident whilst working in your home.
What to do if someone has an accident whilst working in your home
Get medical assistance: First and foremost, provide medical assistance – call for the appropriate emergency service or take them to A&E. You should also make sure that no one else can get injured, this may mean getting everyone to leave and calling in a specialist.
Collect evidence: If safe to do so, take photographs of the accident scene and the equipment or hazard that may have caused the accident. If appropriate, you should also take photos of the injury to use as evidence.
Get a statement: Ask your visitor what happened and write down their explanation. Likewise, if anyone else saw what happened get them to say what they saw. It should only be what they saw for themselves and not what they think may have happened. Make sure they sign and date the statement you have taken, as this will be used to help shape the claim.
Notify your insurer: Notify your insurer as soon as possible – your home insurance will more often than not cover accidents at your home. Many policies require notification within 24 hours or they may not pay out. They will also often want to send out an inspector or assessor before the incident scene is tidied up and before any evidence is removed. If you comply with the terms of your insurance policy, then it should cover you for any damage to your property, as well as for any legal responsibility you have for compensating the visitor that was injured.
Don’t try to assign blame straight after an accident: Whilst you can say that you are sorry that your visitor was hurt, you should not admit fault nor should you get into an argument about who was to blame. Keep your reporting factual and investigate the accident without making any assumptions.
Learn from the incident: Fix or repair any defects relating to the accident and ensure that you do a thorough check to assess any potential hazards before inviting future workers into your home.
Keep your records safe: Personal injury claims can be made up to three years or more after the incident itself, so don’t throw records away after six months! Also, you may over time change insurers, so make sure you keep your current and previous insurer’s details to hand so they can be quickly accessed if needed. As soon as you receive notice of a claim being made, you must let the relevant insurer know.
For more advice on hiring someone in the home or to get advice if a personal injury claim has been made against you visit QualitySolcitors .
A collaborative post, all experiences and photographs are my own