Groups » Three Aspects About Construction Site Accident Lawsuits That You Should Know

Construction sites can be extremely dangerous not only for the workers, but also the other employees. Whether it is a small-scale house-building project or a major commercial one, construction workers are subject to some life-threatening situations.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), roughly 6.5 million people work at over 252,000 construction sites across the United States. With a major section of the population employed in the construction sector, the fatal injury rate for this industry is also higher than the national average for all industries.

Several accidents occur because of negligence, and determining the defaulter for site mishaps is complex. Several parties can be held responsible, including contractors, subcontractors, machine manufacturers, and owners of the construction site. In fact, any form of negligence exhibited by these parties can be considered as contributing to the causes or the circumstances of the accident.

Grave injuries occurring from negligence is common at construction sites. In such a scenario, the negligent person(s) and the potentially liable parties review the causes of the accident to discover some common mistakes and deal with the situation accordingly.

Read on to learn some of the key aspects that can affect a construction site accident lawsuit:

1. Liability for Accident

As per the Construction Accident Law in the United States, injuries and deaths resulting from construction accidents involve violation of safety laws, regulations, and standards drafted by OSHA. With multiple laws and rules applicable, determining liability in construction accident cases can become complicated because of the sheer number of parties involved in the project. Some of the parties who often bear some degree of fault are:

  • Construction Site Owners: Owners of large-scale construction projects usually delegate both site work and legal responsibility to contractors, who may further hire sub-contractors. If you are injured in a construction site mishap where several parties share the responsibility, then the court will decide on the extent of control over the premises. The degree of control over the work that caused the accident will also be considered in determining who is legally at fault.

  • Design Professionals: Architects, engineers, and other professionals who design the layout of the construction site and the temporary scaffolding also have a responsibility toward protecting workers and employees from accidents by ensuring that the plans are error-free.

  • General Contractors: Along with the owner of the construction project, the general contractors and subcontractors have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment to the workers. Additionally, they must warn them of any hazard that may occur during the project. Your contractor should closely monitor the work and ensure that tasks are being performed up to standards.

  • Co-Workers: Construction site managers, foremen, team members, and other persons in charge of workers can be held responsible for an on-site accident. Further, suppliers of machinery, equipment, and raw materials can be held liable for providing substandard products. They may be asked to pay a certain portion of the claim in case of a construction defect or if the material is unreasonably unsafe.

2. Type of Construction Site Injuries

In a construction accident lawsuit, the type of injuries sustained by the victim can determine the final value of the compensation. Consult a personal injury lawyer to help you with the legal procedures and the various documents that need to be presented in court. You are entitled to file a workers' compensation claim if you are injured due to any of the following incidents:

  • Fall from Scaffolding – In most construction projects, workers are often required to use scaffolding and ladders when working at great heights. Statistically speaking, OSHA records 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths annually due to falls from scaffolding.

  • Electrocution – As most construction work goes on for a long time, there may be times when a site has exposed open wiring, un-insulated power lines, and unfinished electrical systems. Workers can get injured if they come in contact with these elements as they can lead to shock, electrocution, or even death.

  • Falling Debris – Workers employed with skyscraper projects often become victims of falling tools, objects, and building materials like nails and hammers that can cause serious injury. In such cases, the construction owner may not be liable for the harm, but the supervisor or the coworker(s) might be held responsible.

  • Fire and Explosions – Fires and explosions are a common occurrence on construction sites because of unfinished pipeline projects, leaking gas pipelines, and incomplete electrical wiring, which is why a construction site becomes vulnerable to fire outbreaks. The fire can become uncontrollable as construction sites are likely to have wood, loose timber, and other flammable items strewn around.

3. Workers' Compensation Claim

Inability to plan the structure and functioning of a construction site can be extremely dangerous. Negligence on anyone's part can lead to the breach of safety rules and result in various hazardous situations. As a victim of construction site accident, you can file a workers' compensation claim.

Filing workers' compensation claim can be like filing an insurance claim. You can file the claim as soon as you realize that you're injured or have developed a medical condition because of your work. Workers compensation laws require you (the employee) to file a claim for benefits within a certain amount of time. Speak to your lawyer to know the state-specific workers' compensation laws. Also, check if there is a statute of limitations for filing a claim. Sometimes, the deadline also depends on the type of injuries sustained.

Reducing the number of accidents on a construction site is a complex problem. Merely talking about safety measures cannot control the risks and challenges. Violating the set measures can make the situation worse. As an employee at a construction site, you need to check if proper safety protocols and procedures taught during training are followed. You shouldn't hesitate to take legal action if you have sustained work-related injuries. Seek legal advice to deal with complicated situations so that you are rightfully compensated for your suffering.

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