Who Is Responsible For A Construction Accident?


Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places for human beings, but unfortunately, some work cannot be done by machines. This puts construction workers in a tough profession where accidents frequently occur. Who is responsible for the construction accident can depend on the size of the job. On a large project, for example, where multiple levels of the building are being completed at different rates, an interior design team might be brought in while commercial painters are still putting the first coat of paint on a room that has just finished interior construction. Several third-party contractors may be on a site from different companies that hired them through job services, and sometimes it’s not clear if they’re hiring competent, experienced, and licensed tradespeople, or if they fully explained to them the duties they are to carry out. Because of all these factors, it’s important to break down who can possibly be liable, and why.

Following OSHA Safety Procedures

No matter how you are brought onto a job, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires certain safety precautions to avoid some of the most common types of accidents, which include:

  • Electrocution
  • Falling from ladders, roofs, or other high spaces
  • Getting hit by an object
  • Collapsing equipment
  • Getting trapped, pinched, or squeezed between things
  • Getting caught in machinery
  • Head injuries from fallen objects

In order to prevent these accidents, OSHA requires all employees to take the following precautions, regardless of their job title. These items include safety glasses, face shields, hard hats, and work gloves. There are a number of other precautions that are specific to certain trade jobs on a site.

Who Is Liable

There are a number of people who can be sued for liability or indemnity. They include: 

  • The property developer
  • Designers
  • Engineers 
  • Contractors and subcontractors
  • Suppliers of the equipment or materials used on site

The person responsible will depend on the accident and the cause. For example, if the manufacturer of heavy-duty equipment was found negligent in abiding by a critical safety standard, they may be the ones to pay the damages.

Negligence Per Se

In the state of New York, negligence per se laws is recognized and followed. This is when there has been a violation of a safety regulation or statute, or a municipal ordinance that has led to someone getting injured. 

However, a defense attorney can make an argument that a statute is not intended to protect certain people, such as a pedestrian who happens to walk by a construction site and somehow is injured based on Restatement (Second) of Torts, Section 288A. One example is when a defendant claims that there would have been a greater risk to others or to the defendant if they had complied with a certain statute, or if an emergency prevented them from being able to follow it, thus absolving them of any guilt. 

Hiring An Attorney

Because of the complexity of the law, and the various defenses an expert legal team can come up with, in a trial, you need a knowledgeable and assertive lawyer who will represent you in your construction injury case. They can explain to you details about Worker’s Compensation, answer questions you undoubtedly have, and make a list of the documents and evidence you should be gathering to help win your case.