Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility
A construction site is a dangerous workplace. For the 6.5 million American who work at more 250,000 construction sites, good safety practices are a necessity. Without safety rules, there is a risk of falls, back injuries, head injuries, burns, crushed bones, amputations, electric shock or even death.
The problem is that construction sites are busy places. A large worksite may have dozens of subcontractors, each working on a different aspect of the project. Good safety practices are essential.
Suppose an electrician is installing lighting on the sixth floor. He turns off the electricity, so he can do his job safely. In the meantime, a general contractor comes in to install drywall on a lower floor. He notices that the lights aren’t working and resets the breaker box. The electrician suffers severe electrical burns.
Accidents like this can be prevented with communication, site coordination, worker training and the enforcement of safety practices. But, when there are multiple contractors, it is hard to know who is responsible for keeping workers safe.
Many construction projects are managed by an architect or a site manager. The site manager is responsible for planning workflows, making safety inspections and enforcing good safety practices. However, each contractor and subcontractor also has a duty to follow safe work practices and prevent conditions that can cause injury.
Liability for Construction Site Injuries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
If you are injured on the job in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits will cover your medical bills and a portion of your salary while you are unable to work. But, if your injury was someone else’s fault, you want accountability.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault form of insurance. If you are injured at work, you can be compensated – even if you are party at fault for the injury. But, this also means that in most cases, you can’t sue your employer.
However, you can file a third party injury lawsuit if someone other than your employer contributed to your injury. This third-party could be the site manager responsible for overall safety on the construction project, another subcontractor, the property owner, or even the manufacturer of a tool or piece of equipment.
Examples of third-party liability at a construction site
Bill is working on the ground at a construction site. While he is working, a drywall installer from another site is using a scaffold to install drywall. The drywall installer throws some scrap drywall to the ground. It hits Bill on the head and he sustains a head injury. The drywall installer or drywall company can be held liable for Bill’s injury.
Brian is a painter. He is painting walls in an unfinished building after another company installed carpet. He is carrying ladder, when he trips over some carpet that was left loose. The carpet installer may be liable for Brian’s broken wrist and shoulder injury.
Kim is using an electric drill to do her job. The drill handle suddenly heats up and Kim’s hand is burned. An investigation finds that the battery in the drill was defective. Kim can hold the manufacturer of the drill liable for her injuries.
Whether you fell from an elevated workspace, were harmed by scaffolding that collapsed, or were injured by a chemical, if you work on a construction site, it is possible that someone else was at fault for your injury. If you were hurt on a worksite and have questions about liability, we urge you to contact the construction injury attorneys at Ostroff Law. We’ll schedule a consultation. An attorney will listen to your story and let you know if you have a third-party construction liability claim.
We know paying an attorney is a big deal if you are hurt, so the consultation is free. If you have a case, our personal injury attorneys will represent you on a contingency basis. That means you don’t pay a dime until we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.