I am afraid I'll get sued

Would you sue?

There is a saying that no good deed goes unpunished and this is a classic case. Consider a friendly neighbour asking you to give him a hand and something goes wrong. Now you could be sued. If you are the one who gets hurt then you could sue the neighbour.

How would this happen? Some examples include your neighbour asks you to come next door and hold the ladder while he goes up on the roof. You say, "sure" and go over and hold the ladder while he goes up onto the roof. The phone rings inside the house so you yell up to your neighbour, "I'm going in to answer the phone". The neighbour does not hear you and starts to come down an unsupported ladder. He falls and breaks his leg. He sues you. He will win.

Another example could happen when you and your neighbour are pruning a tree. You have marked the branches with tape that will be cut. You are cutting with the heavy clippers and the neighbour is catching and removing the debris. You accidentally clip off part of his finger. He sues you. He will win.

You might say, "I'd never sue my neighbour" but what if the injury that has just happened prevents you from going back to work for a few weeks or months? If you do not have a 24/7 disability policy then you are going to be without income. Do you have a family? Where does your duty lie?

If you are looking after a friend's child and that child gets hurt then yes, you could get sued. A babysitter in Northern Alberta was recently sued because one of the children got hold of some matches and started a fire. The next door neighbour's house was burnt as well. These are the people who sued the babysitter.

If you are a volunteer speaker and a member of the audience trips over your briefcase then guess what? Yes, you can be sued.

Your could look at this in terms of the insurance company is in the business of paying claims. You have suffered an injury. The insurance will respond with a payment that will help you to make ends meet and keep food on the table for your family. Of course it is easy to see how this system can and is abused.

What happens to the person who is sued? Of course they will now pay a bit higher premiums because of the loss of the claims-free discount. If this is the second or third claim in the last five years then the insurer may not renew the policy. This could push you into high risk property insurance and your rates could easily double or triple with less coverage.

As with most every situation in insurance there is no absolutes. You need to consider your particular case and make the best decision you can for all concerned. So bear this in mind when you decide to hold a "roofing party" or a "work bee". If one of your workers does suffer an injury during the course of your home project then you may end up in court.

sue.jpg