You go to work, strive to do a good job, but sooner or later a home owner will probably blame you for something that’s beyond your scope of work or control. This can happen, even if you explained clearly on the front end what’s covered by an inspection and what’s not. The potential for lawsuits can weigh heavy, so it’s worth a bit of extra time to protect yourself as best you can.
Anyone Can Sue Anyone for Anything
You might think that with a contract or terms of service that both you and your customer signed, all the protection you need against anyone’s bad mood is there in black and white. Not so. In American civil law, anyone can attempt to file a lawsuit against anyone for just about any reason.
If a judge hears the case, it’s up to the Court to decide whether the home owner’s claim has merit and whether your agreement holds any water. And it’s up to you to prove that it does. Sometimes that works, but sometimes it doesn’t. You could be held responsible for paying damages to the home owner, even if you did nothing wrong.
A Professionally Drafted Agreement is Stronger
Lawyers don’t come cheap. But when you need a good one, his service is worth its weight in gold. You might know all of the details that you want to include in an agreement. For example, if you know that you don’t provide terminate inspections, a section in the agreement stating so should cover your interests, right? Maybe.
For the best shot at a strong agreement, give your details over to a lawyer. Legal wording can be precise and peculiar, and lawyers know how to use it for your protection. Thompson, Hall, Santi, Cerny & Katov attorneys explain that one of the biggest problems with contracts, which can result in expensive ramifications, is legally ambiguous language. A lawyer can help you avoid that.
Don’t Forget About Insurance
You might have a great insurance policy that covers all of the important things, but you’re not fully covered if your O&E insurance isn’t broad and sweeping. Working RE magazine explains that even with an agreement that certain inspections will not be performed, a disgruntled home owner could try to sue. Incidental coverage can protect you against the unforeseen.
Incidental coverage guards against a gap that exists for situations that you couldn’t predict. If you didn’t purchase insurance for termite inspections, incidental coverage could still protect you if a home owner discovers an infestation later. Check with your insurance agent to give yourself more protection and peace of mind.
Most days, going to work as a home inspector is rewarding. But every once in a while a customer comes along who either doesn’t read the agreement, or decides to get revenge on you for a situation that they didn’t expect. It’s worth your while to hire a lawyer to protect your interests. And while you’re at it, beef up your O&E coverage.
Home inspections provide a great service to the community, even with some of the risks that are involved. If you’re interested in ICA School’s home inspector training course, click here and get a free demo to see what it’s all about.