Construction accidents are virtually inevitable. You can certainly follow all the safety rules and regulations that exist, but construction sites are full of potentially dangerous equipment, and occasionally, something is bound to go wrong. The question is, who can you hold legally responsible if an accident occurs?
That’s sometimes not as straightforward to figure out as you might expect. Let’s look at the four main entities who you might try to hold accountable if you injure yourself on a construction site.
Equipment or Construction Machinery Manufacturers
If a construction accident injures you, you might be able to sue an equipment or construction machinery manufacturer. However, that will only be the case in certain specific instances.
There’s no point in going after an equipment manufacturer unless you can establish that the equipment or machinery malfunctioned in such a way that it hurt you. If you mishandled the machinery, such as if you never received the proper training in how to use it, a lawsuit is not going to get you very far.
Defective equipment or machinery can harm workers, but a lawyer might have a tough time convincing a jury that’s what happened. They might bring in expert witnesses who can reconstruct the accident or examine the machinery to determine that it malfunctioned.
Architects or Engineers
Engineers or architects are usually the ones who design the structures that you create on construction sites. Because of this, you’re trying to create their vision. That means you’re following along according to the plans they lay out.
These architects and engineers must comply with all safety regulations that exist. They also have to carry out regular site inspections to make sure nothing looks unsafe.
During the project’s design and construction phases, they must also follow accepted performance standards. They must be very knowledgeable about what materials to use.
If all you do is follow along with what an engineer or architect says, but you still hurt yourself because of faulty plans or materials, you might focus on the engineer, architect, or both, if you elect to bring a lawsuit. They must always have worker safety in mind, and if they fail in that charge, you might be able to build a case against them.
General and Sub-Contractors
It’s up to the general and sub-contractors to provide you, the construction workers, with a safe environment in which to do your job. If there are any inherent hazards on the site, they need to tell you about them. They also must inform you of any defects that exist.
They must hire competent professional workers who know what they’re doing. They should follow all regulations that exist within the construction industry.
Any safety lapse that causes you to hurt yourself while on the job might be enough for you to take a general or sub-contractor to court. If they know you don’t have the training or know-how to handle the job, they have no business hiring you. They should also be present on the site to oversee any active work that you’re doing on it.
Construction Site Property Owners
The construction site property owner is one more individual who you might name in a lawsuit if you hurt yourself on the job. An owner must maintain their property and make sure it’s safe to use as a worksite. If a harmful condition exists, and they knew about it, but they let you continue working anyway, you can often find them liable in court.
Some construction site property owners might want you to press on and finish a project, even if they know a dangerous condition exists. That might be because they have a deadline, and they don’t want anything to get in its way.
Finishing projects on time matters, but safety is always going to matter more. The challenging part might be proving that the site owner knew about the dangerous condition, though. They may try to deny it, especially if their reputation and a lot of money are at stake.
Remember, though, an owner might turn site control over to an independent contractor. If that’s true, the contractor should be a lawsuit’s target, not the owner.
Even though these are the four most likely culprits if you hurt yourself while on a construction site, it’s also possible that you might sue more than one of them. It could be that multiple individuals or entities behaved improperly, and if so, there’s no reason not to go after each of them.