Understanding Liability In Construction Site Accident Cases
After a serious construction site accident, many victims who are interested in taking legal action encounter an interesting hurdle: they're just not sure which party to name in their personal injury lawsuit. When it comes to construction site accidents, the issue of liability isn't as clear cut as one might assume.
Construction projects bring together supervisors and employees from a number of different construction, architecture, and engineering companies.
As workers from each of these companies work side-by-side at the construction site, mistakes can happen. When they do, it can be difficult to determine who exactly is at fault.
If you were injured in a construction site accident, you may be depending on a financial awardfrom your personal injury lawsuit to help make ends meet while you recover. However, the first step is figuring out who to name as the defendant in your lawsuit. A personal injury attorney with experience handling construction site accident cases can conduct a thorough investigation to identify the at-fault party in your situation.
Common Construction Site Accidents
With scaffolding, heavy machinery, power tools, and building materials everywhere you turn, construction sites can be inherently dangerous workplaces. In fact, one in 10 construction workers are injured on the job each year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a federal agency tasked with regulating workplace safety.
Common construction site workplace accidents include:
- Defective or improperly-maintained equipment
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials
- Struck by heavy equipment or machinery
- Caught in or between heavy equipment or machinery
Potentially Liable Parties
- Construction site owner: If the owner of the construction site maintained significant control of the property, rather than handing control over to the contractor, he may be liable for injuries—
- particularly if he was aware of, but failed to warn, a potentially dangerous condition at the site.
- General contractors and sub-contractors: Both general and sub-contractors are tasked with ensuring the safety of the work site and warning workers of any known hazards on the site or with the work itself. These contractors are also responsible for ensuring compliance with all OSHA safety regulations. If general or sub-contractors fail in their duty to create a reasonably safe workplace and a worker is injured as a result, they may be responsible for damages.
- Prime contractors: Sometimes general or sub-contractors assign specific work to another contractor, known as a prime contractor. These contractors are responsible for overseeing all aspects of their portion of the construction project, including site conditions and employee safety. If a worker is injured on their watch, they could potentially be liable.
- Architects and engineers: Tasked with ensuring the safety and structural soundness of the building or construction project, architects and engineers might be considered liable if their negligent design standard resulted in an accident and injury.
- Construction equipment manufacturers: Construct equipment manufacturers and distributors have a responsibility to ensure that their products are reasonably safe and free of defects. If defective products, machinery, or equipment cause an injury, the manufacturer or distributor might be at fault.
- Construction site managers and foremen: These construction employees are in charge of overseeing the work and safety of other workers. If an injury occurs because a construction site manager or foreman failed to observe proper safety regulations, they could be responsible for damages.
Were You Injured in a Construction Site Accident?
Many construction site accident victims handle their claims through their employer's workers' compensation coverage. However, depending on the circumstances of the accident and the extent of the injuries, construction workers may also be eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If you're considering taking legal action after a construction accident, McGartland Law can help you explore your legal options. Contact McGartland Law today to schedule your free initial case review.