Attorney John Durso, Esq., LeadingAge Legal Committee member since 1980

A contractor did some shoddy work installing flooring that we didn’t catch right away and a patient wound up falling and injuring herself. Can we go after this contractor if the family wants to sue us or regulators want to fine us? What about other poorly done work, whether it’s in a bathroom or shower or elsewhere?

A company that repairs your premises can be made legally responsible for damages caused by their poor quality work that causes injury to your residents, staff or visitors.

This should be stated in the contract with the repair company, making terms clear it has liability to individuals who are injured due to their poor workmanship or outcomes.

Your contract with it should also specify that they are also liable for fines imposed by federal, state or local governments imposed because of their poor- quality work.

You should get copies of its insurance policies so you can make sure the level and types of coverage are sufficient to protect the facility and that the insurance company is highly rated. 

You may want to have any contractor add your organization as an additional insured to its policy with the legal right to bring a claim on behalf of injured parties so that you have a better position to protect your organization. 

You also should check with your insurance carriers to make certain your position as an additional insured does not disrupt or impact your insurance coverage.  

And don’t overlook this: A contract with a company performing work should state that the company will comply with an express duty to satisfy all federal, state and local regulations. You do not want to ultimately be held responsible for something that another party should be owning up to.