When a construction accident happens on large jobs, there could be many possible parties at fault for the accident and any injuries that result. There are many intricate parts in a construction project, and the more involved it is, the more likely it is for something to go wrong or fail. Assigning liability for accidents and injuries on construction projects is determined by the extent a party had control over the work being done. In general, there are the same possible liable parties in every construction project:
- General contractors
- Independent contractors
The landowner, just like a business owner, has the responsibility for the safety of the workers, or invitees to the job site. There are potential dangers that the owner should be aware of and has a responsibility to remedy the problems or warn the invitees of the problem. This could include potential hazards such as underground gas or electrical lines. Even though the landowner may not be at the job site, they have a responsibility to make sure, the hazards are marked or to hire a competent site manager or general contractor who will take responsibility for details like that.
The architect and engineers can be found liable depending on the contract they have with the landowner. Liability can also be assigned to them depending on the type of accident or injury that occurred. If a crane breaks because it was overloaded, it might not make them responsible. On the other hand, if the building collapses under the weight of the crane a strong argument could be made that the design or engineering of the building was defective, placing blame at the feet of the architect and engineers.
General contractor or site managers have the responsibility for everything that happens on the construction site. They are the directors of a synchronization of workers. It is their job to know who is on the job site and what jobs are being done at any given time. The general contractor hires the prime and subcontractors; therefore, they are responsible for any actions and omissions on the job site.
Prime contractors are only responsible for the portion of the construction site that falls under their trade or skill. Some prime contractors work on steel while others work on plumbing. The prime contractors hire sub-contractors to bring in crews to work under them in a skill area. As with the general contractor, the prime contractor is responsible for hiring workers who are competent and knowledgeable. They are, therefore, responsible for any accidents and injuries they cause or are a victim of.
In addition to humans on the construction site, accidents and injuries can happen with the use of equipment that fails or improper maintenance. The liability can be determined by the failure. It might be a design defect or lack of inspections and maintained that caused the accident.
If you have been injured on a construction site of any size, it is prudent to make an appointment with an attorney at Crowe, Arnold & Majors to discuss your case. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.