"The Fine-Print in Contracts"

Here in Massachusetts, subcontractors doing work on a job site, i.e., cement work, excavation work, carpentry work, etc., many times sign a contract with the general contractor who hires them. Likewise, cleaning companies, snow removal companies, etc. many times sign contracts with the owner of the property or building as a condition of doing the agreed-upon work.

These contracts may include language requiring the subcontractor to indemnify and defend the general contractor/building or property owner and further to have them named as additional insureds on the subcontractor's own liability insurance policy. These provisions are not just boiler-plated verbiage, but rather are agreed-upon terms which a commercial party can and will enforce if sued.

G.L. c. 149, s. 29C requires that there be evidence that the subcontractor "caused the injury" or the agreement will be considered void. These means that there be proven evidence that the subcontractor, through some action or inaction, caused or provoked the mishap BUT that is many times not difficult to prove.

Therefore, it is always smart to read the fine-print, then go to your insurance agent and request that he instruct your insurance company to name the general contractor/building or property owner as an additional insured.

You should always seek the expert advice of an attorney who has expertise in this fairly sophisticated area of the law.