Saint Stephen, SC asked in Workers' Compensation, Construction Law and Insurance Defense for South Carolina

Q: independent contractor or subcontractor for workman’s comp

I’m a homeowner trying to have a shed built. Anyone I’ve interviewed does not carry workman’s comp insurance. I believe if an employer has more than 4 employees they must carry workman’s comp but in reality that is not often. Can a company I hire to build a shed be classified as an independent contractor? If I hire an idp. Contractor and he brings a helper who’s responsible for the workers insurance? I’m providing details of finished job and paying when work is complete but will not be directing any employees or providing tools. If an employee of the company falls off the roof am I liable? The foundation for the shed is poured but the rest of the shed will be built by one company/person. Will this company be considered a sub and me the general contractor or the company an independent contractor? Is the only way to limit liability is by getting workers comp myself if I can’t find someone that carries it?

1 Lawyer Answer
Ilene Stacey King
Ilene Stacey King
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Licensed in South Carolina

A: Are you a homeowner or property owner building a shed on your property, or are you in the business of building sheds? If building sheds something you do as part of your business, then you might be considered a general contractor. If you are a property owner hiring a company to build a shed for you on your property, and building sheds is not part of your business, then you are not a general contractor. If you are a general contractor and the sub does not carry workers' comp, then you have workers' comp liability. If you are a property owner hiring a company to build a shed for you, you do not have workers' comp liability. You do not have employees to cover as the employees of the company building the shed for you are not your statutory employees (i.e., they are not deemed employees by way of your relationship with their employer). The company you hire is liable for injuries to their employees. If they should have workers' comp coverage and do not, they are still liable (and subject to fines). If they do not have to have workers' comp coverage, they are liable for their own negligence. Your liability is as a property owner and your homeowners or other liability insurance covering your property would be the applicable insurance. You would only be liable for an injury to someone getting hurt on your property if you were negligent in some way. That doesn't mean you can't be sued - it's a question of whether you could be successfully sued. So, if you are a property owner and not in the business of building sheds, then what you need to be sure you have is homeowners or other applicable property liability insurance - not workers' comp. If you are in the business of building sheds, then you should consider getting workers' comp coverage for subs you hire.

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.