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Who's Responsible if Someone Gets Hurt Hanging My Lights

Who’s Responsible if Someone Gets Hurt Hanging My Lights?

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While you may not relish the idea of putting up your own Christmas lights every year, you may worry about your liability if you hire someone to do it for you. Since the question of who’s responsible if someone gets hurt hanging your lights isn’t a black and white issue, it’s a good idea to consider three critical areas before you drag out your ladder and climb up on the roof yourself.

Homeowner responsibility

Whenever anyone—be it guest or worker—comes onto your property, it’s your responsibility to make them aware of any potential hazards. In the case of someone hanging your lights, you’ll want to point out potential issues like:

  • Exterior outlet voltage
  • Hazards on your roof
  • Issues with exterior outlets
  • Parts of the lawn that are particularly muddy or rocky, making them a poor position for a ladder
  • Tree limbs that are especially close to the house.

Ultimately, you know your house and should be able to help Christmas lighting services identify the potential hazards associated with the perimeter of your home. As long as you make a reasonable effort to do this, you’ve covered your responsibility to invited individuals, from a liability point of view.

Type of Christmas lighting service

Not all holiday lighting services are created equal from a liability standpoint, so it’s critical to use caution in who you hire. Ideally, you want to only work with Christmas decorating companies that are insured. Not only does this protect you from paying if someone slips off your roof while hanging string lights, but it also should provide some financial compensation to you in the event that they damage your home while working.

Remember, it’s not enough to simply ask whether a company has liability insurance. Request to see the certificate of insurance and verify it hasn’t expired. You can also ask the decorating company to add you to its liability policy as an additional insured. While the big Christmas lighting services should be able to easily provide insurance information to you, the guy who lives down the street and offers to hang your lights for 50 bucks may not. In that situation, it will be your call whether you want to open yourself to liability in order to save a little money on your outdoor Christmas lights.

When to call the insurance company

While it’s natural to want to leave your homeowner insurance company out of anything that could increase your premiums, an injury on your property while hanging string lights outside is no time to hesitate. In this situation, your home insurer is on your side and will help you try to fight or settle the liability claim against you. In the event you are found liable, your insurer will pay the injured party based on the personal injury limits and conditions spelled out in your policy.

Bottom line: Call your home insurer the moment a worker hanging lights mentions the extent of their medical bills or wants to sue you.

Related:

Home Insurance Liability Coverage

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