Construction jobs are often a complex hierarchy of owners, contractors, sub-contractors, and engineers. If you're injured while working on a site, it may be difficult to determine who could be held liable for your injuries. Unsafe conditions, faulty equipment, negligent coworkers, and many other factors can cause serious injuries and even deaths on a construction site. Understanding who is responsible for the various operations on a site can help determine who can be sued to recover compensation for your injuries.
Potentially Liable Parties on a Construction Site
In general, the more responsibility a party has over the day-to-day operations on a site, the more liable that party is for things that go wrong. Whoever is directly responsible for the specific failure that led to the injury or death will be one party that could be held liable, but there may be others as well.
The following are some of the parties often involved in construction sites that could be responsible for injuries to workers:
- Construction site owner. The owner of the land upon which the construction is taking place may be liable for injuries to individuals involved in the project if the owner has maintained control of the property to a significant degree, rather than handing control over to the contractor. If an injury is caused by a potentially harmful condition on the land that the owner knew or should reasonably have known of, he could be held liable. If, however, the injury was caused by conditions created by the contractor that the landowner is not aware of, he is likely not liable.
- General contractors. Contractors have a duty to create a work environment that's reasonably safe, and ensure that the work over which they have control is being performed in a safe manner, including the hiring of competent workers and following safety regulations. If a worker is injured due to unsafe conditions or the carelessness of a co-worker, the general contractor—or sub-contractors—may be sued for compensation.
- Prime contractors. While general contractors are responsible for an entire project, special work may be contracted out to other companies, known as prime contractors. These contractors are only responsible for the work identified in their prime contracts, and would be responsible for the site conditions and safety of employees involved in that work.
- Architects and engineers. An architect or engineer can be held liable for any injuries suffered by construction workers as a result of failure to meet required safety standards during the design or construction phases of a project. Depending on a designer’s or engineer’s contract with the site owner, he may bear some responsibility for an accident caused by a failure in his services.
- Manufacturers of construction equipment or machinery. If a defect in equipment or machinery causes injury to the operator or another worker, the manufacturer of the machinery could be held responsible for the resulting damage.
- Multiple parties. In some cases, all or some of the above parties could be held liable for the same accident. If, for example, equipment failure causes injury to a worker, the manufacturer of the equipment could be sued as well as the contractor who failed to identify the defect and the engineer who chose the equipment.
It's not always easy to know who's liable for the injuries you sustained on a construction site. The case depends on the cause of the accident, who else was involved, and who was directly responsible for ensuring the safety of those engaged in the particular activity.
It Will Come Down to Your Legal Representation
Determining liability for a construction accident won't be easy. You'll need an experienced construction accident attorney to evaluate the situation and identify all potentially liable parties. Construction injuries can be serious and may require expensive medical care. Securing all possible sources of compensation could be vital for achieving a complete recovery. Contact the work injury experts at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys with your construction accident questions today.