Helping a friend - be careful!

"A man who lost an eye when part of his conservatory fell on him won compensation today from the neighbour who was helping him put it up. Raymond James will receive 44,525.32 from uninsured labourer Alan Butler, who will have to sell his home in order to pay after today's Appeal Court ruling."
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/18711164?source=Evening%20Standard
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Tony Bryer SDA UK 'Software to build on' http://www.sda.co.uk
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On 18 May 2005, Tony Bryer wrote

Interesting. The whole article, though, seems to suggest that the risk isn't when you're "helping a friend": it's when you're being paid to by to do a job.
(300 pounds to "help" put up a conservatory?)
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Harvey
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Tony Bryer wrote:

Sheesh.
No doubt the outcome would have been identical has it been the homeowner who'd lost his eye as a result of actions deemed to be those of the labourer?
Also I doubt the fact that money had changed hands made any difference either?
I'm quite interested in this since on occasions I personally fall into the above roles of "homeowner" and "labourer" - I've always assumed the personal liability clause of my home insurance would cover me if I got sued under these circumstances - isn't that right?
David
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On 18 May 2005, Lobster wrote

IANAL, but I figure that's probably central to the decision: whether the guy realised it or not, payment established a contract, and that in turn would have established a duty of care, etc. etc.
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Tony Bryer wrote:

But the article makes clear that James had *hired* Butler to assist with this work, and that the accident occured through gross negligence on Butler's part. Contractor injured client, end of story.
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or, employer failed to adequately supervise (unskilled) labourer.
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fred

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fred wrote:

They tried that defence presumably, and the judge soundly rejected it.
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IANAL but ISTM that it's the negligence that gives rise to the claim and the decision would have been the same if it had just been a neighbour helping out for free.
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Tony Bryer wrote:

Also IANAL, and I agree that a precedent based upon goodwill help between neighbours would be quite worrying, were it ever to occur.
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