Don't get sued, check for a valid workmans compensation certificate before hiring your painting contractor.
The most important question to ask before you hire a painter is if you can see their worker’s compensation certificate. If they do not have it, YOU CAN BE SUED. If you hire a painting contractor without workers compensation and one of the painters hurts themselves, YOU can be sued. Is this fair? Absolutely not. We believe that you should not be liable in any way, the company should be solely liable. But that is the law. Imagine one of the painters injures his spine from falling off of a ladder. You could be held liable for the cost of his surgery, rehabilitation, lost wages, etc. Again, we do not think that is fair but unfortunately, that is the reality.
We urge you to be careful. Do not risk a lawsuit. The “They told me they had it” excuse will not fly in a court of law. Make sure you see and print out the certificate before you schedule your project. Even after the project has been completed, keep your copy of the certificate with your receipt. This will protect you from potential injury claims in the future.
Workers compensation is insurance that protects a company’s employees and their customers if a worker gets injured on the job. If a company is hesitant to produce proof of coverage, they probably don’t have it. All companies that have workers compensation should have the certificate posted on their website. They should NOT PUT YOU in the uncomfortable position of asking them to produce it. A certificate should look identical to ours. It will say “Certificate of Liability Insurance” at the top. It will list the insurance company and the painting company at the top. Under the “coverage's” section it will have the policy number (which will start with WC) and the expiration date. If you question the authenticity of the certificate, just call the listed insurance company to verify coverage.
Still considering using a company that doesn’t protect their employees or their customers? Trying to save a few dollars? Well here is another way to think about it. Worker’s compensation is required by law. If a company doesn’t have it; they are breaking the law. Do you really want to entrust the aesthetics of your home to a company that doesn’t care about laws? If a company isn’t worried about mandatory laws, I certainly wouldn’t expect high ethics or professionalism from them.
We urge you to please be diligent. The following are two common lies you may be told by companies that do not have workers comp:
- A company may try to tell you they have their movers set up as independent contractors. This is almost always a lie. To be true these workers would need to show up in their own vehicle (not a company owned truck) and bring their own moving equipment.
- Some companies may try to tell you they are a small company so they don’t need workers comp. This also is almost always a lie. If they have more than THREE employees they are required to have it. This includes office staff.
A small one truck company may not be required to have worker’s compensation, but they certainly should have it. Why? Because THEY (AND YOU) COULD BE SUED if a worker got injured. It is unethical and irresponsible for any company (of any size) to go without it.