When Can A General Contractor Be Held Liable?


Safety on a construction site is the top priority for any General Contractor. The negligence of any person on the site can lead to accidents. And accidents result in property damage, bodily injury, or even fatality. So it is important to establish who exactly is liable for the damages. In other words, what General Contractor insurance coverage do you need?

One of the most common questions for General Contractors whether they are liable even if it isn’t their fault?

Let’s start by looking at some things a General Contractor is not liable for.

Limits of General Liability for General Contractors

Accidents happen on site This is due to defects in the plan drawn by the architects. And, not the fault of the General Contractor. You will also not be liable for the improper maintenance of the construction site where there is a special body to do so. In these cases, the architect and that body would be liable. 

Does this mean that General Contractor insurance coverage does not have to include damages resulting from professional mistakes? 

Professional Mistakes

No. Like other professionals, you need insurance against mishaps that may occur as a result of your opinion, service or recommendations. General Contractors Liability Insurance does not include Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance or Professional Liability Insurance

We recommend that you include this coverage in your insurance program.  Contact Contractors Liability – our specialty is General Contractor Insurance Coverage. We know what you are liable for, and we’ll make sure that you have the proper protection.

Employees of Sub-Contractors

It is the general duty of the General Contractor to ensure the safety of the construction site. You must also warn others of the hazards on the site. Ordinarily, accidents caused by the negligence of the General Contractor to carry out this duty will place liability firmly on you. 

Furthermore, the cause of the accident and the level of control over such cause can determine the liability. Something you may not be aware of is that you are liable for the actions of the employees of a sub-contractor. This doesn’t seem fair. As they do not even work for you, and you have had no part in hiring them!

Equipment Failure

Here’s another scenario. Where it happens that the General Contractor retains control over the independent contractor, you will be liable to the extent of your control. For instance, what happens where the General Contractor has a duty to inspect the machinery of the independent contractor before the commencement of the job? 

If an accident occurs where a result of the use of an unsafe machine, supposedly checked, the General Contractor is liable. This is because of your negligence. You should have inspected the equipment properly. 

So we can see that a General Contractor will be liable for accidents that occurred from activities which you have a certain level of control over. This will be limited to the extent of that control.

General Liability Insurance

Construction sites are regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) and the construction laws of the state where the construction is taking place. In light of this, it is advisable for General Contractors to know and meet all the requirements of these regulations to avoid liabilities. It is also advisable to have General Contractor insurance coverage that is tailored for your specific needs. 

Getting General Contractors General Liability Insurance is what ContractorsLiability.com does best. If you’re unsure about the best Contractors liability insurance, your questions can be answered by experienced insurance agents at Contractors Liability. Call (773) 985-2528.