Police officer asks middle-aged couple in a rural community to check on a neighbor who called 911. Couple are told 911 call was weather related. However, this was a gross misrepresentation. Couple walk in on an active murder scene and are violently attacked by an assailant with a taser and large hunting knife. Couple are severely injured; neighbors are dead; and, attacker dies in a high-speed police chase. County claims that couple’s only remedy is worker’s compensation because they were acting as the County’s “posse” at the time of the attack. Yes, this is a true story. Will the couple receive justice from the California Supreme Court?
Independent contractors regularly perform services at commercial and residential jobsites. However, what happens when the independent contractor is injured on the job? When can a hiring party, such as general contractor or homeowner, be held liable for an independent contractor's injuries? Generally, the hiring party can be held liable when it exercises control over safety conditions; provides unsafe equipment; or, fails to protect against concealed hazards. Nevertheless, this is still a developing area of law. Presently, there are two cases pending before the California Supreme Court, which may provide further guidance.