Who Is Legally Liable for Construction Accidents?

Construction accidents are unfortunately still all too common which is not surprising given the dangerous machinery, large moving equipment, and opportunities for injuries. There are numerous work safety regulations in place through the federal government and state governments designed to protect workers in these jobs and many contractors also incentivize workplace safety. Still, accidents happen, and determining who is liable can be a tough job. If you have been in an accident, it may be in your best interest to tell a construction accident lawyer.

If you or loved one has been injured in a construction accident, the first place to start is to find a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with construction and workplace accidents. This attorney can then hit the ground running ensuring that evidence is preserved and to tap into as many resources as possible to help the injured worker and their family in the immediate aftermath.

The personal injury attorney will then turn to looking into who was ultimately responsible and thus liable for the accident. As with most personal injury cases, the list of suspects is long. In the case of construction accidents, there are several different players who will be scrutinized. These include the general contractor, sub-contractors, the site owners, the architects and engineers, manufacturers of the equipment, and even the city or county building or site inspectors.

The general contractor is usually a good place to start since this person or entity has taken on most of the responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the site and will probably have at least some hand in the events leading up to the injury. While the general contractor gives over some liability to the sub-contractors, the general contractor nevertheless maintains some general liability for whatever happens on the site.

The sub-contractor will be responsible for their sphere of work as well as for their employees. Most workers who are injured on a construction site are usually employees of a sub-contractor or sub-contractors to the sub-contractor. To the extent that the sub-contractor’s work may have caused the accident or injury, then they will likely be the most responsible for damages.

More remote liability can be assessed to the construction site owner, especially if some policy or action on their part was a contributing factor to the accident.  Similarly, if a design flaw or engineering mistake causes the accident, then the architects and/or engineers will be liable for the damages.

In some cases, the fault lies solely with the manufacturer of the equipment perhaps for making a defective product, designing the product defectively, or failing to ensure that those who serviced the machine knew of a particular problem so they could fix it. The state or local site inspectors may also have some liability depending upon whether they approved a site that had an obvious danger or hazard.