What you need to know
How can a tree service company put you at risk? Picture this scenario. A tree service worker was seriously injured while pruning trees in your yard and they demanded that you cover their medical bills and lost wages. When you didn’t comply they filed a lawsuit. The lawyer that you hired says the tree service worker may not win, but you know that win or lose, this lawsuit is going to cost you thousands of dollars. Sound farfetched? Think again.
Less Than 1 of 9 Tree Service Companies Carry Adequate Insurance
According to the Society of Commercial Arborculture, the odds of a tree service worker being seriously injured or killed on the job, in any given year, are about 1 in 120. That equates to a fatality rate for tree service workers that is three times higher than that of a police officer or a firefighter. Yet despite these facts, less than 1 out of 9 tree service companies operating in Pinellas County carry both workmen’s compensation and general liability insurance, because they simply choose not to pay for this coverage.
Tree Service Injuries Can Cost YOU Thousands of Dollars
So how does this affect you? Last year alone Florida insurance companies paid out over $2.5 million dollars in workmen’s compensation claims to tree service workers who were injured on the job. The average tree service worker injury claim was nearly $25,000 and severe injury claims were significantly higher. So if a tree service worker is injured on your job and they don’t have workmen’s compensation coverage, the injured worker with nowhere else to turn, will likely seek compensation from you.
What You Can Do To Protect Yourself
Saving a few dollars by choosing a tree service company that offers low prices and inadequate insurance coverage can cripple your financial future. There is only way to be sure that the tree service company you choose has workmen’s compensation and general liability insurance coverage. Insist that they provide you with a Certificate of Insurance from their insurance company and make sure their insurance company lists you as the certificate holder. That way, the only thing being clipped in your yard, will be your trees.
Jon Wilbur is an ISA Certified Arborist and co-owner of Pinellas Tree Service, in Clearwater.
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