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Who's responsible?


LawnSite Member
If a homeowner was to hire an under age kid (under 16) to mow their lawn during the summer and the kid was to injure himself or another person while on the site, is the homeowner responsible?

Seems like there are always people that have a problem paying the regular prices and want to use the 14 year old from down the street that will work for $10.00/Hr.

I would like to be able to tell the homeowner they are responsible for the under age person and his actions while he is on their site but i'm not sure that's a true statement.

Anyone know for sure?


LawnSite Fanatic
I am 99.9% sure that its the homeowner

Lawn Dog2001

LawnSite Bronze Member
South Carolina
The homeowner for sure. That 14 year old kid would own their house after the lawyers are done with them, especially if it were a permanent injury.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Kitty Hawk, NC
The customer is responsible. That is why big/commercial clients make sure you are fully insured before they let you work on their property.

Critical Care

LawnSite Bronze Member
Central Oregon
I would assume that the liability section of a homeowners insurance policy would more than likely cover up to a certain amount anyone being injured upon the property, including adults. However, if this kid stuck his hand under his mower while it was running, the kid’s family probably wouldn’t be able to collect a dime because of the boy’s own negligence.

And… I would think that regardless of how old a person is, if they mow an individual’s lawn once a week they wouldn’t be considered an employee of that individual.


LawnSite Senior Member
Yes, it's the homeowners responsibility. It's also a good sales pitch to customers as I hand out my service agreements. If they don't sign up on the spot, I leave them a letter explaining the importance of hiring an experienced professional and not a kid or low priced scrub, in a brochure type letter.

Simply put, I explain that all kids are sole employees of you, the homeowner (by irs guidelines), and that the homeowners are responsible for all aspects of coverage while maintaining their yard, including injuries associated with it. (This is the honest to god's truth also, states right in the tax guide of 2004. Even uses this EXACT senerio as an example)

Also, I explain that it is extremely important to hire a professional that delivers quality and not just a rock bottom price. BE SURE to ask to see or recieve a copy of their insurance certificate. In this profession, quality companies deliver insurace backing, quality equipment, knowledgable employees, at a resonable price. (I specifically tell each customer when I meet with them that at their request, I will supply their very own copy of my insurance certificate before work begins. They have the option to take this or take my word they I have insurance in place. It gives them a sense of security and leverages my ability to get the account.)

Low cost companies deliever less then quality work, use less than quality equipment, and offer little to NO insurance. NO insurance can lead to grossly lower pricing. BE AWARE that contractors without proper insurance coverage risk their lively hoods, along with that of the homeowners themselves. (It's no different if a burgler brakes into your home and he sues you. Let a contractor work on your yard and cuts off his foot without insurance. I'm sure he'll get sue happy)

I make these points, not exactly to this wording, nor this long, but it's additional reading the homeowner can do and put some scare into them. Along with this letter, they recieve a letter introducing my company. Stand apart from everyone else and you will land the accounts. Homeowners need someone to tell them why or why not they should hire you.


LawnSite Gold Member
It is the home owners responsibility, But if the kid injures someone other then the home owner or them-self, then the parents will probably get sued too.

This is why I have voiced my opinion in the past that we as professionals should not be promoting this behavior on Lawnsite. But every time I say something, I get a couple of guys telling me that i'm a jerk and these kids are just trying make a few bucks, and it is better then doing drugs or what not. Well how do you know they are not using the money to buy drugs.

I wish everyone would start taking pride in this industry and stop promoting this behavior. Why can't these kids start painting houses or something, at least that would be legal and safer. Let the painters worry about them for awhile.