Legally reviewed by:
Setareh Law
January 14, 2024

In most cases, a contractor who gets injured on your property in California cannot hold you legally and financially accountable. However, you may still face liability if you exercised control over how the contractor did their job or if you failed to warn them of a hidden hazard on your property.

Here’s a review of how California law deals with contractor injuries sustained at a job site. Setareh Law and our team of lawyers can help you in answering any questions you may have about if contractors are harmed while on your property.  

Limited Landowner Liability for Contractor Injuries in California

As a property owner, understanding your responsibilities and potential liabilities when a contractor is injured on your property is crucial. In California, a legal principle known as the Privette doctrine generally exempts property owners from liability for injuries sustained by independent contractors working on their premises. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule you should be aware of.

Two Exceptions to the Privette Doctrine

First, if a property owner fails to warn the contractor of a concealed hazard on the premises that the owner knew or should have known about, they can be held liable for injuries to independent contractors resulting from that hazard. For instance, if you know that there’s a weak spot in your attic floor but fail to inform the roofing contractor, you could be held responsible for injuries the roofer suffers when the floor gives way under his weight.

Second, if a property owner retains control over how the contractor performs work on the owner’s premises, and this control contributes to the injury, then the property owner can be held liable. For example, if you insist on a painter using a specific, unstable ladder that you provided and they fall and get injured, you may bear some legal responsibility for the accident.

Potential Compensation for Injured Workers in California

If either of the two exceptions to the Privette doctrine apply, the injured worker could claim damages from the landowner that include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Physical pain and discomfort from injuries and medical treatments
  • Emotional suffering and diminished quality of life

The type and amount of compensation a worker could receive depend on factors that include the severity of their injuries and the property owner’s financial resources to pay a claim.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California

Irrespective of the Privette doctrine, most workers in California are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, which provides workers with financial support if they get injured while on the job. Workers’ comp benefits often include payment of medical expenses, replacement of a portion of lost income, and benefits for a temporary or permanent disability. Workers can claim benefits on a no-fault basis, meaning they have a right to compensation regardless of who is responsible for their injury.

Contact a California Personal Injury Lawyer at Setareh Law Today

Contractors who sustain injuries on the job in California usually cannot sue the landowner for compensation, unless either of the two Privette exceptions discussed above are triggered. Regardless, California workers also often have options for securing compensation from other sources, including workers’ compensation insurance and third parties at fault for causing their injuries. 

The experienced personal injury lawyers at Setareh Law fight to secure fair payment for our clients, and we work hard to protect your rights every step of the way during the legal process. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call (310) 659-1826 today for a free consultation. We also speak Spanish.