Construction sites are dangerous places, with any number of hazards and many different parties involved in the project. Because of this, determining who is liable for an injury you have suffered on a construction job can be complicated. It will depend on your role in the construction project, your relationship with other parties involved, and who or what caused your accident.
Ultimately, the person whose behavior or carelessness caused your accident will be the one responsible for paying for damages. Here are a few potential candidates to consider.
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If you are a construction employee who is injured on the job, it is worth investigating if your employer is liable for paying for your injury. Employers have certain duties to their employees to protect them from harm. They must abide by OSHA safety regulations and industry best practices. Those regulations differ depending on the type of work performed, but some common duties include providing safety equipment, maintaining the worksite, and offering proper training.
If you suspect that your employer may be responsible, the first thing you’ll need to find out is whether or not the employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. In Texas, employers are not required to have it. However, the state does try to incentivize employers to carry workers’ comp by giving them certain protections under the law.
If your employer was not covered by workers’ compensation insurance at the time of your accident, they will not be able to argue that you share some of the responsibility for the accident. A construction accident lawyer can help you investigate the insurance coverage available to you and determine whether you have a case for additional compensation.
A General Contractor
In many cases, construction workers are not directly employed by a construction company. Instead, they are independent subcontractors hired to work for a general contractor. However, even as a subcontractor, you have the right to a safe work environment, so if you are injured, you may be able to file a lawsuit or negotiate a settlement for your damages and losses.
Again, it’s important to determine whether or not the person who hired you — in this case, the GC — carries workers’ compensation insurance. Subcontractors may be covered under this policy. If there is no workers’ comp available, the GC may still be liable for your injuries. In this case, it will be important to review any existing contracts so you can clearly understand the contractor’s responsibilities and your relationship to each other.
Workers also bear some responsibility for keeping the job site safe. If a worker behaves negligently and you are injured as a result, you may have a case for compensation. This is true even if the behavior isn’t overtly negligent. For example, a worker who leaves a piece of debris in the path of other workers may be just as liable as one who strikes another worker with a tool.
Construction sites are busy places, with many different jobs being performed. It’s not uncommon for there to be multiple contractors, vendors, and companies working together on the same project. In fact, another vendor could be liable even if they are no longer working on the site. An example of this might be if a framer fails to fill a hole and you trip on it and are injured as a result. In this case, you could have a case for compensation if you are able to prove that the vendor created an unsafe work environment.
An Equipment Manufacturer
Construction workers rely on the proper functioning of tools, machinery, and other equipment. If your accident was caused by an equipment failure or defect, it’s possible that the manufacturer could be held responsible for your injuries.
Determining who is liable for your accident is only one part of the investigative work that must be done in order to make informed decisions about your case. You will also need to understand the extent of your injuries and damages and what kind of compensation is available to you under the law.
That’s why many accident victims choose to consult with a construction site accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you sort through the details of your case and educate you on your rights and options after an accident. At FVF, we offer a free case evaluation so you can begin learning about how you can best move forward after your injury. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.