When filing a claim for a construction site injury, it is important to understand who can be liable for causing the injury. The construction industry often exposes an employee to dangerous worksites that increase his or her susceptibility to being in a serious accident.
These accidents can include:
- Falling from scaffolding
- Exposure to contaminants like asbestos and toxic chemicals
- Unsafe or improper use of dangerous equipment
- Electrocution from exposed or faulty wiring
- Being struck by heavy equipment or machinery
Determining Liability for Construction Site Injuries
Construction sites usually have multiple parties involved in the project, and depending on its size and the number of parties in control of the project’s subsets, determining liability in a workplace accident can be complicated.
These parties include:
Construction site owner
The liability of the land owner depends on the amount of control he or she has over the construction site. The owner of the site may not be considered the legal owner of the land if he or she hands control of the property to a contractor during construction.
In this instance, the possessor of the land is liable for any accidents that may result in injury or the death of individuals invited to the property, referred to as “invitees.” The possessor of the property has an obligation to ensure an invitee’s safety and inform him or her of any known dangerous hazards on the property.
General and sub-general contractors
A contractor is obligated to ensure the safety of any worker on his or her construction site. The premises should be reasonably safe, and the contractor has a legal duty to warn of any dangerous hazards or defects that may be present on the site.
The contractor also has a duty to make sure that all work is being performed safely and that any hazards inherent in the work duties being performed are made known to the employee. This duty also extends to the obligation of hiring reasonably competent and able employees and that all work complies with proper safety regulations.
A prime contractor is only responsible for the work that is outline in his or her prime contract. Prime contractors are also responsible for any work he or she delegates to a sub-contractor, including payment and work quality. If an accident were to occur during the work overseen by a prime contractor, he or she could be held liable.
Architects and engineers
A design professional, such as an architect or engineer, is responsible for ensuring the project or building he or she created is safe and practical. The responsibility for a design professional is usually outlined in his or her contract and can include ensuring the project and construction site meet proper safety codes.
Architects and engineers are obligated to uphold professional standards during a site’s design and can be held liable if any accidents or injuries were caused by neglecting to meet these standards.
Manufacturers of construction machinery or equipment
If a defective part or dangerous design in a machine or piece of equipment causes an accident or injury, its manufacturer may be liable for the incident.
When determining liability in a construction site accident, it is important to note that the owner or possessor’s insurance policy is compliant with workers’ compensation standards. The coverage that each party’s insurance policy provides can often determine legal responsibility in a construction injury.
Why You Should Hire a Construction Accident Attorney
The complexities surrounding construction accident liability can be confusing and overwhelming to an individual who is not familiar with the responsibilities of each party involved. An insurance company or site owner could take advantage of this and provide minimal or no compensation at all.
This is why hiring a construction accident attorney who is both experienced in the legalities surrounding the industry and understands complex insurance policies is imperative to being properly compensated.
Henness & Haight's dedicated construction accident attorneys have served the workers of the Las Vegas area for more than 20 years by providing them with a quality service that protects their rights.
We understand the difficulties of those in this dangerous industry, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis and do not charge any fees unless we obtain a fair outcome in your claim. Our attorneys will provide you with a free consultation that comes with no obligations to determine if your claim has legal options.