Who Could Be Liable in a Construction Accident?
If you suffer an injury while on the job at an accident site, you have two legal options: file a worker’s compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. The latter is only an option if another party can be considered liable for the accident having occurred.
But who can be held liable in a construction accident? This depends on the nature of the accident, but here are a few of the most common examples of parties that could be considered responsible.
The contractor or subcontractors
All contractors have an obligation to ensure the safety of workers on the construction site. They should take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of the premises, and must provide reasonable warning to anyone working on the site of any potential hazards or defects.
It is also the contractor’s duty to ensure all work being done on the site is performed safely, and that hazards associated with the work being performed are known by the employees. This responsibility extends to the hiring of subcontractors; any subcontractors hired for the job should be reasonably competent and able to get the job done safely.
The owner of the construction site
In some circumstances, the owner of the construction site itself might be responsible for accidents that occur, though this would only happen in circumstances in which that owner would have a significant amount of control over the construction site during the job. If the owner of the property essentially hands over all control of the property to the contractor during construction, he or she may not be considered liable for any accidents that occur.
When the construction site owner is liable, this is due to the responsibility the possessor of the land has to “invitees” (people with express permission to be on the property) to keep them safe. Property owners are obligated to ensure the safety of invitees and inform them of any potential dangers on the premises.
Engineers or architects working on the project
Design professionals have the responsibility of ensuring any buildings created are not just practical and of high quality, but also safe. This means the buildings they design must meet all building and safety codes. If any accidents or injuries are caused by a failure to meet the professional standards that architects and engineers have, they could be liable for the damages suffered.
In some cases, a defective part or an inherently dangerous design in a piece of equipment could cause an injury or accident. In such a case, the manufacturer of the piece of equipment could be liable for the incident. This is most likely to occur when there is documented evidence of similar accidents with other like pieces of equipment at construction sites.
Again, it is important to note that potential liability for a construction site accident will vary based on the circumstances of the accident itself. Therefore, if you have any questions about how best to proceed with your case after you’ve been injured on a job site, it is important to consult with an attorney.
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Christopher Montes de Oca is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Chris is recognized as a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” a recognition that only 2.5 percent of lawyers receive, because of the exceptional results he has seen and his dedication to his clients. Chris services clients throughout Los Angeles, including Echo Park, Maywood, Long Beach, Whittier, Glendale, La Mirada, Pico Rivera, Hacienda Heights, and Alhambra. Call him today for a free consultation at (562) 901-4664.