South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Independent Contractor Status Holds to All Parties Involved in Construction Job
Description California appeals court held that an independent contractor hired by a subcontractor at a construction job was an independent contractor in his relationship with all parties at the worksite, so he had no cause of action for the injuries he suffered in a fall.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Independent Contractor; Injury
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts David Michael, a truck driver, was seriously injured while working on his truck at a worksite. Michael owned his truck and operated a sole proprietorship. Aman, a general contractor, had hired Denbeste as a subcontractor for truck hauling services. The parties agreed to safety rules. Had Michael been following the safety procedures, he might not have been injured. Denbeste hired Michael under a subhaul agreement and gave him a copy of the safety agreement. After he was injured, Michael sued Denbeste and other parties at the construction site for negligence for not providing more safety instruction and safety equipment. The trial court dismissed the suit. Michael appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Neither Aman, the general contractor, nor Denbeste, the subcontractor, were liable for the injuries. Michael was an independent contractor of a subcontractor, which means he was an independent contractor to all parties. The lack of protection from falls was not a concealed hazardous condition. The other parties did not control the details of the work Michael was doing on the job, so are not responsible for his injuries.

Citation Michael v. Denbeste Transportation, ---Cal.Rptr.3d--- (2006 WL 726649, Ct. App., Calif., 2006)

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