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Are general contractors liable for subcontractor injuries?

In addition to basic workers' compensation rules, each state has unique requirements of its own.

In North Carolina, certain workers' comp rules apply to the construction industry. For example, if you are a general contractor, are you responsible for covering an injured subcontractor?

Contractor duties

A principal contractor oversees a construction project ensuring that the work complies with OSHA and other regulations and that workers observe health and safety rules. A general contractor is responsible for the project from start to finish. He or she will obtain the necessary permits and licenses, hire and train subcontractors and provide hands-on, overall supervision.

Managing workers' compensation claims

According to North Carolina law, a principal contractor bears no responsibility for subcontractors. However, a general contractor might be held liable for the injured employees of uninsured subcontractors and may have to provide insurance coverage for these workers. In some cases, the general contractor may be able to charge a subcontractor for the cost of workers' compensation insurance coverage that applies to the sub's injured employees.

Claim disputes and denial

If you are a contractor in charge of a major construction project, you have enough to do without having to worry about subcontractor injuries and the potential for liability. The process for submitting a claim to a workers' compensation insurer does not always go smoothly. Sometimes a carrier denies a claim or a dispute between the employer and the insurance company arises. Injuries happen frequently in the construction business and legal guidance is essential in helping to cut through the red tape that prevails with respect to the approval for workers' compensation benefits.


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