On site personal injury claim without equal, the worst possible event an owner builder will experience during the construction or renovation of their home.
Is an owner builder covered for such a catastrophic event? Probably not when holding an all-risk contractor’s policy which is designed for general purpose, and not owner builder specific, which may mean family assets including the family home become front and centre for compensation payout. But this is not all, these letters arrive with a hefty fine and notice citing, breach(s) of safety or workplace laws. Of course an owner builder has a right to defend these claims and notices by engaging a legal team to prove innocence against government lawyers. This legal situation is a money pit and thus is the single most powerful reason to hold the right insurance, and not any just any owner builder insurance as the apprehension or fear of not knowing if you hold the right Insurance is a heart destroyer.
“It’s not going to happen to me” is what most owner builders think. In our firm and our volume (several hundreds), new owner builder projects each month, it does happen and it hurts.
These events start with the arrival of legal letter and it reads: “our firm has been instructed to act for Liam (full name withheld) in relation to his claim for damages for serious personal injuries which he sustained in an accident working on your owner builder construction site (address) on or about this period (date).
The legal letter continues: “we are instructed that on or about that date, our client was assisting you to install cladding on a residential property at the abovementioned address, for which you are registered as the owner builder. In the course of performing the task, my client was working at a height of approximately 3.5 metres when he lost his footing, slipped and fell to the ground below. My client suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident. We consider the accident was caused by your negligence and breach of statutory duty in (among other things) failing to install a scaffold or other working platform to enable my client to work safely on the roof. Had such apparatus been present at the relevant time, my client would not have fallen from the roof to the ground below, and injury would have been avoided. In the circumstances, I suggest you pass a copy of this letter to your legal adviser for further action. Should we not hear from you within 14 days we will begin legal proceedings against you and the property owners.”
If the owner builder in this real life example held a Qtrust insurance policy, the shock and fear would have been eased by a phone call to our third party liability and personal injury claims experts, who handle such matters directly, and thereafter letting an owner builder get on with their project, because the project needs completing, bills and mortgages keep rolling on.
Owner builders are reminded they are required by law to meet the same legislative and work site safety requirements as licensed builders. These requirements are contained under various State and Federal Regulations. Copies of State and Federal legislation are supplied to all clients. Qtrust clients are also issued with Owner Builders Essentials Safety Pack to assist with work-place safety and management.
Workers Compensation Insurance Letter Owner Builders Dread
This post was written by Technical Underwriting Centre