So you’re ready to start that remodeling project and you start looking for a contractor. This is the project you’ve been thinking about for the past few months. You have interviewed 3 local contractors but feel their estimates are much more than what the project should cost. Your neighbor down the street told you about her most amazing secret, a local guy who knows how to do a lot of home remodeling projects with prices that are dirt cheap. “The only catch” she says, “he’s not licensed or insured”.

If the employer is in the construction industry and employs one or more employees, worker’s compensation insurance is required.

You’re only going to paint a few bedrooms and the living room you say to yourself. Not having the proper insurance or a license can’t be that big of a deal. I mean it’s not like he’s working on the roof where he might slip and fall off, right?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics musculoskeletal injuries such as strains and sprains are the most common type of work related injury that American workers suffer. Accounting for 43% of injuries in the private sector, a sprain or strain can take an extended period of time for recuperation and can result in necessary and forced changes to work habits or duties.

Just some basic painting, a few paint brushes, some rollers, maybe a little drywall repair and, so far as tools go, the most he would need would be a step ladder to reach the ceiling. Easy peasy right?

Statistics Concerning Ladder Dangers

  • According to the World Health Organization, the United States leads the world in ladder deaths. Each year, there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries and 300 deaths in the U.S. that are caused by falls from ladders.
  • Most ladder deaths are from falls of 10 feet or less.
  • Falls from ladders are the leading cause of deaths on construction sites.
  • Over the past decade, the number of people who have died from falls from ladders has tripled.
  • Falls from ladders are the leading cause of ladder-related injuries, followed by using a ladder improperly, using a faulty or defective ladder, and simple carelessness.

Ladder Safety by the International Association of Certified home Inspectors

You replay this conversation in your mind over and over as you sit patiently in your attorney’s office awaiting your appointment to discuss the mess you are in. Who would have thought in a million years that your husband’s step ladder had rusted clean thru one of its legs without anyone noticing? And that said ladder would hold out just long enough for “Mr-fixit-and-cheap” to be working from the top step painting the ceiling right next to the balcony overlooking your living room 10 feet below? And that the beautiful glass trophy you received from your office for selling the most homes in 2019 would be sitting directly under “Mr-fixit-and-cheap’s” unplanned flight plan from your balcony down to your living room below?

The doctors assured you “Mr-fixit-and-cheap’s” surgery would go very well, “we remove foreign objects from people’s bodies all the time”. What they didn’t tell you was how long the recovery process would be.

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor determined that there were 4.6 injuries per 100 fulltime employees in the workplace. Injured employees required an average of 19 therapy visits (Worker’s Compensation Research Institute). The average number of work days lost to secondary to work injuries was nine days and Sprains/strains accounted for 40% of the injuries. A work-related injury resulted in an average loss of approximately $38,000 including wages, productivity loss and medical expenses (National Safety Council, 2005). Furthermore, the National Safety Council documented that the longer you wait to treat worker’s compensation injuries, the greater the cost.

What Does a Workplace Injury Cost?

So your decision to hire an unlicensed contractor will cost you on average $38,000.00 in lost wages, productivity costs and medical expenses, plus attorney’s fees, should you choose to hire one to protect your assets from further liability, plus the cost to repair the damage to your home caused by “Mr-fixit-and-cheap’s” swan dive off the high dive board into your living room below, plus the cost to get the painting job completed; and maybe a lot more!

Thankfully, “Mr-fixit-and-cheap” didn’t die, that cost can be staggering… and, you guessed it, you would be responsible. Always hire a licensed contractor