Can I really lose this lawsuit?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I really lose this lawsuit?

A contractor took his wife on a job with him. She had recently had surgery.

Supposedly she injured herself from where she had surgery using our

equipment. We were never informed that she would be using our equipment and she has never been our employee. We received papers today from an attorney saying to provide our insurance info or they will sue our business and us personally. Can we really be sued by someone who wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place? We’ve worked so hard to build this business.

Asked on June 25, 2018 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You could be liable if at fault: that is, if the injury occured due to defective equipment or some reason that you caused or could have (and should have--such as by proper maintenance) prevented. It doesn't matter if someone is "supposed" to be there or not--you have to take reasonable care to prevent injuries. (This is same reason that if you have a broken stair on your front porch which you are aware of, and so should fix, but failed to fix, a trespasser who falls due to it can sue you.) 
On the other hand, if you are not at fault in causing her injury--for example, she used a power tool incorrectly and injured herself due to that--you are not liable. Liabilty depends on fault.
If you have liabiltiy insurance, pass the attorney's contact onto the insurer--let them deal wth this; it's what you pay for insurance for. If you don't have the relevant or applicable insurance, you can refuse to pay if you believe you are not at fault, let them sue, then in court, defend against their suit by providing evidence, testimony, etc. showing that you were not at fault in any way.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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