By Laura Gorman, Barnes & Thornburg LLP
The Indiana Supreme Court recently handed down a potentially significant opinion finding as a matter of law that a general contractor owed a duty of care to the employees of a subcontractor to provide a “reasonably safe” work environment. The case arose after a subcontractor’s employee fell from an 8-foot ladder while working at a jobsite. The Court held the general contractor, not its subcontractor, had a duty of care to protect the subcontractor’s employee while he was on the ladder. That duty arose out of a standard form contract for design-build contracts. While recognizing that “the long-standing rule in Indiana is that a principal will not be held liable for the negligence of an independent contractor,” Justice David’s opinion held that this rule did not apply because the general contractor had assumed a duty of care in its contract with its principal, the property owner.
The case can be found here.
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