If you suffered an injury during your construction job or while visiting a site, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. So who is liable for a construction site accident? In fact, multiple parties are possibly liable, including the construction company, the property owner, equipment manufacturers, or another negligent third party.
Basically, any party that should have played a role in maintaining a safe environment for you to work on the construction site could be found negligent if you suffer an injury. To succeed, a claim you bring to recover for the injuries and other damages you suffered as a result, must prove that the party did not do what they should have done to ensure your safety.
The Dangers Found on Construction Sites
Construction sites are tough places to work. Construction workers have to deal with difficult conditions, such as heights, hot weather, cold weather, large equipment, heavy weights, and sometimes, the need to work in awkward, off-balance positions in order to perform certain required tasks
Sometimes, all of these dangers lead to a significantly increased risk of accidents that lead to injuries or falls from height. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), even a fall from a height of 10 feet has been known to result in death or a significant rehabilitation process, causing one to miss significant work time.
Making Use of Safety Gear
The company running the construction project needs to provide all of the safety gear to keep employees safe on the job. The company also needs to keep the gear in prime working condition.
Everyone needs to be taught how to use the safety gear too. The contractor is to provide safety gear, but if people are using it incorrectly because of poor or inadequate training, it will not matter, and the contractor could be found liable after an accident.
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The Complexity of Working on a Construction Site
In the construction industry, you will have multiple workers moving around the site working on different projects at the same time, which can make the site seem chaotic. Sometimes, this complexity leads to an increased risk of accidents.
As a further bit of complexity on the job site, it is possible that many different crews and parties are responsible for different parts of the work. Sometimes, multiple companies hire subcontractors and people working at the site, which means it is difficult to determine who is liable for an accident in which you were injured.
Your attorney will determine the level of liability different parties have on the construction site for your injuries. It is possible that more than one party’s negligence played a role in your injuries. Here are some of the parties who could be liable for your accident.
In some cases, the property owner could be found liable. The property owner must post information about safety hazards at the site, which includes dangerous materials.
If the property owner invites guests onto the property to view the construction work, this could be a piece of evidence in a liability case if one of the guests suffers an injury.
In New York, in certain types of construction site accident cases, the property owner may be held legally & financially liable for injuries a party suffered even if the property owner’s negligence was not a direct cause of the accident.
Construction Company or Contractors
Depending on how a construction project is set up, a single construction company is possibly in charge of all aspects of the work, making it easier to determine the liable party.
Other times, a general contractor oversees the project, hiring subcontractors to handle the work on different aspects of the overall site. Subcontractors bring their own equipment to the job, introducing liability.
Either way, these are the primary parties who are responsible for site safety and ensuring workers are following safety protocols. Training workers on safety protocols is a key part of preventing injuries, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fall prevention campaign.
The New York laws, referred to above, that can impose legal and financial liability on a non-negligent property owner in certain types of construction accident cases, can also result in the legal and financial liability of the General Contractor. Your construction accident lawyers at Friedman & Simon are thoroughly familiar with these technical laws and have successfully prosecuted numerous such cases.
If an engineer or architect creates a faulty plan for a site and following this plan leads to an accident, the people who created the plan could be found liable for your injuries.
If the power tools or other equipment you are using at the construction site is malfunctioning due to a manufacturing defect or has a significant design flaw that played a role in your injury, you could hold the manufacturer of the equipment or the company that maintains the equipment liable for your injuries.
Protecting Your Right To Seek Damages
After an accident at a construction site, you should seek medical care for your injuries. It is important to be open and honest with the doctor about how you are feeling and about what happened. The doctor will give you a recovery plan based on all your injuries and pain.
Sometimes, understandably, injured construction workers are fearful, not only about the physical consequences of their injury but about the ramifications of the event. They are afraid of being fired and they are afraid of being “blacklisted,” and not hired for other work in the future. When the workers are undocumented as to their immigration status, they will often have a whole set of fears related to that issue now becoming problematic as a result of the accident. For these and other reasons, some injured construction accident victims will tell the ambulance staff or the emergency room or urgent care personnel, or even their own doctor a “modified” version of where, or how, the accident happened or exactly what the extent of the injuries are.
We urge you to be honest with your doctors. We have had cases where unscrupulous employers ask a worker injured in a construction accident to say the accident happened elsewhere so that it would not be reported to the employer’s insurance. The employer assures the worker that, they (the employer,) “…will handle all the bills.” Usually within days and often within a week or two, as it becomes more and more clear that the injuries are severe, the employer stops taking the worker’s phone calls and becomes impossible to reach. Misstatements made early on about the extent or other details of the injury can do great damage to a claim.
A worker in this position should speak to a Friedman & Simon L.L.P. construction site accident lawyer about who is liable. We will address who will pay your medical bills, your time lost from work, and other concerns. We want to protect your rights and see to it that you get what you deserve.
If it appears your injuries are serious and you will be missing work while facing a long rehabilitation process, you are probably wondering who is liable for a construction site accident and about many related issues. Contact us at (516) 932-0400 for a free consultation today.