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Who Pays When an Independent Contractor Causes Property Damage?


Make sure you know who pays the bill when an independent contractor causes property damage during a construction project.

Many businesses hire independent contractors for a multitude of reasons. For example, using an independent contractor for a job rather than an employee may save an employer money, since employers do not need to provide independent contractors with employer-provided benefits or pay independent contractors a salary. Working with independent contractors often provides employers greater flexibility by hiring independent contractors on a project by project basis. Employers may also benefit from using independent contractors because, in most instances, employers are not vicariously liable for the negligent actions of independent contractors.
Although independent contractors are not employees, they are not completely separate from the company and the company may still be liable for any actions or omissions an independent contractor takes or fails to take while performing services for a company in certain circumstances. There is often a fine line between an employee and independent contractor. Just because a hired party is labeled an independent contractor, it does not necessarily mean that they are considered an independent contractor as opposed to an employee under the law.
This topic will navigate through this complex area of law. It will provide a brief overview of what exactly an independent contractor is and the difference between an independent contractor and an employee, and will review the importance of having a written independent contractor agreement. This topic will also review the circumstances as to when the company or the independent contractor is liable in the event the person hired causes damage or performs some other negligent act. Finally, it will turn focus to presenting the best business practices to minimize risks.



Mark B. Grzymala

Mark B. Grzymala

Grzymala Law Offices, P.C.

  • Principal of Grzymala Law Offices, P.C. and focuses his practice in commercial litigation and construction law
  • Represents a variety of clients from the small business owner to Fortune 500 companies
  • Experienced litigator representing all players on a construction project with respect to mechanics lien foreclosures, bond claim enforcement, construction defects and delays, breach of contract, and consumer fraud
  • Named as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine in 2016, and as a Super Lawyer in construction litigation for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020
  • Frequent speaker on construction law issues and author of several articles on contractor rights
  • Member of the ABA Construction Law Forum and Charter Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America
  • J.D. degree, Chicago-Kent College of Law; B.A. degree, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Can be reached at 847-920-7286 or
Joseph Kwaitkowski

Joseph Kwaitkowski

Grzymala Law Offices, P.C.

Joseph F. Kwiatkowski

  • Associate attorney at Grzymala Law Offices, P.C. and focuses his practice on commercial litigation and construction law
  • Represents a variety of clients, range from small businesses to large companies across the State of Illinois
  • Has litigated numerous cases relating to breach of contract, fraud, employment issues, mechanics lien foreclosures, eviction, and other business disputes
  • Experienced in employment and commercial law
  • Member of the ABA Construction Law Forum
  • J.D. degree, Chicago-Kent College of Law; B.A. degree in political science and history, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Can be contacted at 847-920-7286 or

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