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Hail Damage to Roof Leads to Workers Comp Claim

Roofing Company Failed to Pay for Workers Comp Claim, Lacked Workers Comp Insurance

workers comp claim

After hail damaged a woman’s rental property, she hired a roofing company to fix the damage. However, a worker was injured on the job, and filed a workers comp claim – when the roofing company did not have workers comp insurance.

Norma Hoff owned a house she used as rental property in Colorado. She hired Alliance Construction to repair the damage the roof and the house after a hail storm. Without her knowledge, Alliance subcontracted with another roofing company, MDR Roofing. During the roof’s repair, an MDR employee – Hernan Hernandez – fell 25 feet from the top of a ladder and seriously injured himself. Because he was an employee at the time of his work-related accident, Hernandez filed for a workers comp claim, stating medical needs and temporary disability. However, MDR’s workers comp insurer, Pinnacol, denied the claim because the roofing company’s policy had lapsed. Neither Hoff nor Alliance carried workers comp.

Alliance subcontracted with MDR in part because the roofing company said they had workers comp coverage. A few months after the contract began, however, Pinnacol sent a letter to MDR stating that their workers comp insurance would be canceled if they did not receive a payment by March 2, 2011. MDR’s owner claimed that he never received that letter, and that one of his family member’s signed for it.

Cancellation letters were sent to MDR but not Alliance on March 3rd. On March 10th, Hernandez fell from the ladder. MDR’s owner paid to have the policy reinstated and signed a no-loss letter, despite the fact that he knew Hernandez had fallen off the ladder.

MDR filed Hernandez’s workers comp claim, but because MDR’s owner said there had been no losses during the coverage lapse, Hernandez’s workers comp claim was deined by Pinnacol. Because MDR failed to claim Hernandez’s injury, the reinstated policy was void, Pinnacol claimed in court. The administrative law judge during the appeal found that both Alliance and Hoff were on the hook for Hernandez’s injuries.

Appealing to a higher court, Hoff claimed that she could not and should not be responsible for the workers comp claim, as they relied on Alliance, and by extension MDR, to carry workers comp coverage for that particular type of accident. Because she owned the property which was used for business purposes, she could originally have been found liable, but she hired another company which should have covered its workers and subcontractors, therefore she was not liable for the workers comp claim.

The Strom Law Firm Represents Injured Employees in Need of Workers Compensation

If you were injured on the job, whether a physical construction site accident or an emotional injury leading to PTSD from workplace harassment, the South Carolina workers comp attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. South Carolina is a right-to-work state, which makes many employers think they can simply deny coverage or injured workers claims, but this is not true. We understand the intricacies of workers comp law in the state, and can help you file a claim, get an IME or appeal a denied claim. We also offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss your injuries, so contact us today for help. 803.252.4800



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