The truth is Cousin Bubba doesn’t really know a lot about insurance or even law for that matter. He is well versed in the 2nd Amendment and will “tell you right flat out the right to bear arms has nothing to do with the First Lady’s sleeveless dresses.” Bubba doesn’t need to tell you he’s a card carrying NRA member; he proudly displays the bumper sticker on his pickup truck.
Times are tough for guys like Bubba right now with the economy slowing down. Not long ago, Bubba needed a little extra money for new tires on his truck. He went to work for his brother-in-law, Buddy. Now Buddy is a General Contractor and works all of Seminole County from one side to the other. Buddy had contracted to build a barn (storage shed for you city folks) and needed Bubba to help cut some of the rafters. Bubba, who has used a skill saw ever since he could look a coon hound in the eye, began cutting the boards by laying one end across his leg and the other end on the tailgate of Buddy’s truck. As he was cutting on the line that Buddy had marked, one of those Oklahoma gusts of wind blew through and the end of the board came off the tailgate. The skill saw was placed in a bind and the saw blade came out of the wood. It cut off part of one of Bubba’s fingers.
Bubba knew when he went to work for Buddy that there wasn’t any workers’ compensation coverage through Buddy’s company. Although the company has been growing and expanding for years (sometimes as many as four in the crew if you count Buddy’s 7 year old), he has never been able to afford workers’ comp insurance. But, Bubba knew Old Man Jones, who was having the barn built, had insurance on his house. So Bubba simply filed a “workers’ comp” claim against Old Man Jones’ homeowners’ policy to recover for his injuries and his time off work.
I was talking to Bubba about all that had happened and he told me that the homeowners insurance company hired some slick, smooth-talking lawyer who got his case dismissed. He couldn’t remember the lawyer’s name, but still had a copy of the motion that he filed. There is an exclusion in 85 O.S. § 11 (3) which states that where work is performed on a single family residence, dwelling, or premises occupied by the owner … such owner . . . shall not be liable for compensation under the workers’ compensation act. Bubba didn’t get his claim paid by the homeowners’ policy. He couldn’t buy his new tires because Buddy wouldn’t pay him “cause he ruint a perfectly good piece of lumber!”