Who Is Potentially Liable For My Injuries In A Construction Accident? By Michael Joseph on June 08, 2017

In general, whoever caused the accident is responsible. If it was the employer or a co-employee who caused the accident, you are usually barred by workers compensation laws from suing them because you’re getting comp you can’t bring a lawsuit.

However, if the employer did not have workers compensation, you can sue the employer directly and the owners personally for failing to securing payment of compensation. Additionally, who’s liable often depends on how the accident happened. In general, under the labor laws, the work site owner or the owner of the construction site and the general contractor are always liable to make sure everything done on the construction site is done safely with good equipment. They’re almost always responsible.

Additionally, there are times other defendants that are liable. For example, in one case involving pump jack scaffolding, we were able to show that the wood had badmouth. It was bad wood that wasn’t really suitable for scaffold use, so we were able to successfully sue the material supplier for not providing good materials.

On some cases where there is a structure failure, if you have a safety company on one side and things were obviously being done in an unsafe manner, they can be sued. Certainly anytime you have bad materials that are supplied, or faulty equipment, those are also potentially liable for the damage that were caused by construction accident.

Who Would be Held Liable if a Passerby was Injured at a Construction Site?

In those cases, the land owner has responsibility to make sure the area surrounding a construction site is kept safe for passersby. There are a lot of regulations that require sidewalk sheds to keep debris from coming onto the sidewalk or falling onto the sidewalk.

We’ve seen a number of cases where people are hit by things that are flying from a construction site, that’s why they were required certain types of shoots, certain types of netting to surround a construction site so that things don’t fall from higher floor onto the sidewalk and certainly the general contractor is also responsible to keep the site clean and to keep the debris from getting on to the sidewalk in the first place.

How Can Independent Contractors Manage a Construction Accident Claim?

The typical construction scenario is there is a general contractor who contracts to do all the work and then he sub contracts it out in different trades. For example, electrical gets a subcontract to electrical sub-contractor; the scaffolding gets leased from a scaffolding company. A lot of times, the general contractors are carpenters.

If you’re the employee of a sub-contractor, you can’t sue your own employer even though he bought the bad equipment or the unsafe or caused the unsafe condition. However, you can sue the general contractor. If you’re a general contractor’s employee, you can’t sue your own employer but you can sue the land owner for failing to provide safe equipment or allow you to work with unsafe equipment.

What Are the Steps Someone Should Take After Being Injured In A Construction Accident?

If you had injuries caused by unsafe equipment or a bad condition or whatever, if you’re able to, you should definitely start taking pictures of whatever is around you at that time and document it because a lot of times the employers or the insurance companies for the general contractors will do everything they can to deny the claim or they say the claim is fake. A picture really is worth a thousand words because it prevents their ability to say, “Oh no, this really didn’t happen.” If you have pictures, that’s the best evidence in the world.

With any significant construction accident, they should call OSHA because OSHA will always do an investigation and they’ll take their own photos and take their own interviews. It documents what really happened and it keeps insurance companies from trying to deny what happened which they’re famous for.

What is the Critical Evidence to Preserve at The Scene of a Construction Accident?

Pictures! Anybody who’s injured should try and take pictures of what caused your injury right away. If anyone saw it or any coworker saw it, try and get their names and numbers too because especially after that claim because people in a construction field tend to move around a lot especially unions, they get assigned from one job to another job to another job and you just track that person very quickly.

For more information on Liability for Construction Accidents, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you're seeking by calling (914) 574-8330 today.

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The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC, has been helping injured victims recover compensation for their injuries for over a decade. Our attorneys are members of several prestigious organizations, including: 

  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • New York County Bar Association
  • Westchester County Bar Association

To request your free initial consultation with our team, call our New York City office at (212) 858-0503 or our White Plains office at (914) 574-8330. You can also request a case review online.

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