Hundreds of thousands of construction workers are injured each year and thousands killed while constructing commercial buildings, high rises, apartment complexes, strip malls, new housing developments, or any of a myriad of structures, developments and infastructure.
There are two broad types of construction site accidents that can result in serious injuries and death: (1) accidents involving the construction workers themselves, and (2) accidents involving bystanders and passers-by.
While construction companies are responsible for the safety of the workers and the work environment, in certain circumstances, a landowner or occupier may be liable for the dangerous conditions on the premises.
Since construction sites typically involve highly dangerous and potentially hazardous life-threatening conditions, these types of accidents may often result in very serious injuries and even wrongful death. Personal injuries suffered at construction sites can be among the most severe.
Some states have enacted laws that prevent an employee from suing his/her employee as a result of an injury at a construction site. Similar state laws and worker’s compensation laws have also placed limits as to the amount of compensation an employee may recover for injuries resulting from a work site accident. Since worker’s compensation typically does not provide the necessary compensation for personal injuries suffered while at work on a construction site, in order to recover compensation for additional damages such as pain and suffering, it is necessary to find a party other than the employer that was liable for the injuries.
Situations frequently arise where a party other than the employer is to blame for the injuries at the construction site. Construction equipment may be found to have been defective and/or dangerous both in design and manufacturing. While the construction company is responsible for providing a safe work environment, dangerous cranes, falling scaffolds, forklifts, conveyor belts, trucking equipment, drilling cranes, defective rock grinding machines, cement mixer, vehicle-mounted elevating machines, rotating work platforms, sawmills, tractors, welding machinery, chemical and biological materials may be found to have been the cause of the accident and resulting injury.
With respect to injuries caused by the carelessness (“negligence”) of an employee working for the same contractor as the injured employee, the injured employee is usually limited to recovering worker’s compensation benefits. However, if the worker was hurt by the negligence of another contractor’s worker, the injured worker has the right to sue the person who injured him or her and that person’s employer. The reason for trying to find a third party who is legally responsible (“liable”) to the injured person is crucial, because if the injured employee’s injuries or death are deemed to come within the parameters of the worker’s compensation system, his or her damages will usually be significantly less than they would be if the injured worker (or the survivors of a deceased worker) could hold a third party liable.
As for bystanders and passers-by, suppose a crane is moving some beams from the ground to the fifth floor of the building under construction, and because of the crane operator’s negligence, the beam falls from the sky and kills the people below. In such a situation, you can sue the crane company for the wrongful death of the persons who were killed. If the crane itself was defective, a lawsuit may be filed against the manufacturer and distributor of the crane under the doctrine of “products liability.”
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a construction accident, contact us today for a free evaluation of your potential case. Even if the worker was seriously injured or killed by a fellow worker who worked for the same contractor, there are certain situations in which the contractor can be held liable for the injuries or deaths to his or her own employees outside of the worker’s compensation system. Don’t guess about your rights and call today (888) 845-9696