Construction Accidents Information Center
Construction Accidents Information Center
Construction Accidents - An Overview
Whether on a small project for an individual homeowner, or for a major commercial development, construction workers must deal with some of the most dangerous working conditions faced by employees in any industry. As a result, serious work-related injuries at construction sites occur with unfortunate frequency. Regulations, specifications, inspection requirements, and job safety programs all seek to prevent construction site accidents and promote safety awareness on the part of all parties involved in a construction project. But despite these important efforts to deal with the challenge of construction site safety, accidents occur and will undoubtedly continue to occur, due to both the nature of the work itself and the variety of hazards faced by construction workers. These hazards include falls from scaffolds and other elevations, being struck by moving or falling machinery, electrocution, health hazards resulting from exposure to asbestos and chemicals, injuries caused by defective or unsafe equipment, and lifting and repetitive motion injuries. If you or your loved one has suffered injuries as the result of a construction accident, consult an attorney to learn about your rights regarding compensation. A lawyer experienced in construction accident and injury litigation can help you learn what your rights are.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a construction accident, the first step in your legal recovery is to meet with a skilled attorney to discuss the situation. Issues in your potential case, including compliance with occupational and site safety standards and regulations, engineering issues, and liability and indemnity determinations, all require that your claim be handled by an attorney who is experienced in the area of construction accident liability.
Who May Be Liable For A Construction Site Injury?
Depending on the size and sophistication of the construction project, there can be a wide variety of individuals involved at a construction site, including the site's landowner, design and engineering professionals, contractors (including general, "prime," and sub-contractors), construction managers, and equipment and material suppliers. While many construction projects are based on general contract relationships (where a general contractor retained by the site owner enters into agreements with sub-contractors as needs require), larger projects are increasingly being handled by "construction management" organizations.
The type of system in place at a construction site where an injury occurs will be an important consideration in assessing the potential liability of the various individuals involved in the project, especially as to the site owner's liability. Larger construction projects typically involve a great deal of delegation of both work and legal responsibility: from site owner to general contractor; general contractor to "prime" or sub-contractor; and in some cases, "prime" contractor to sub-contractor. Generally, in assessing liability for injuries at a construction site, the main determinations are the extent of a potential party's control over the premises on which the work is being done, and the degree of their control over the work itself.
To determine who may be liable for injuries resulting from a construction accident, it will help to take a close look at the duties and legal responsibilities of individuals who may be involved in the construction project at issue:
OSHA & Safety Regulations
Safety regulations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 have been adopted by most states in some form, and these regulations apply to work done at construction sites. The issue of who is responsible for ensuring compliance with OSHA regulations (i.e. general contractor or sub-contractor) often turns on who was in control of the job site or job activity when the injured employee was hurt. The legal effect of a violation of OSHA regulations will vary, depending on the state in which the injury took place. In certain jurisdictions, if it can be shown that an OSHA regulation was violated and an injury resulted, nothing more need be proven to establish that the responsible party was negligent.
OSHA regulations are not the only legal standards to which a property owner, general contractor, or sub-contractor may be held in determining liability for a construction accident. Often the property owner or general contractor will have his or her own set of safety rules, either generally applicable or specific to the construction project at hand, designed to protect those performing work on the project. Violations of these regulations may serve to support a claim for a construction accident.
Pursuing A Claim For Construction Accident Injury
If you have been injured as a result of an accident at a construction site, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your legal rights:
Your next consideration should be to find an attorney to help you evaluate your potential claim.
Your case may be won or lost based on the work done before it ever goes to trial, depending on the results of the investigation and fact-finding that your lawyer will undertake on your behalf. So, discussing your case with an attorney who is experienced in the area of construction injury law is the best way to ensure your success. Given the complex liability issues, the legal deadlines for filing causes of action for injury (especially for injuries suffered at city-owned construction sites), and the need to conduct a thorough site investigation as soon after the injury as possible, meeting with an attorney sooner rather than later is recommended. An attorney experienced in handling construction accident injury cases will know how to uncover all of the parties who may be responsible for your injuries.
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