Factors Determining Liability For A Construction Site Accident

If you are injured on a construction site, do not automatically assume that the owner of the site is liable for your injuries. Multiple factors determine who should pay for the subsequent damages after a construction site accident. Here are three such factors:

The Degree of Control of the Owner

One of the things the court will look into is the degree of control the owner had over the construction. Some site owners micromanage their projects while others hand over everything to a general contractor. The person in charge may determine important issues, such as the nature of safety gear used by workers, the materials used in fencing off the construction site, and even the hiring of employees.

If the owner had a hand in the day to day operations at the construction site, then he or she may be liable for your injuries. However, if the owner left it all in the hands of a contractor, then the court may find that the liability doesn't lie with him or her.

The Origin of the Accident

The root of the accident, which an investigation will reveal, also determines who pays for the damages. Was there a gaping hole on the land that the owner did not reveal? Did the injury occur due to the contractor's ineptitude? Was it a third party (such as a delivery guy) who caused the accident? The answers to these questions help to identify the liable party. Therefore, if the accident stemmed from a fault on the site/land itself, then the owner should pay for the injuries.

Your Contribution to the Accident

In many accidents, the victim is also found to have contributed to his or her injury. Consider an example where a construction worker does not store his or her hammer at the end of a day's work. Suppose you are delivering food to some of the workers at the site, and you ignore the hard hat provided because you feel it is dirty. If the hammer falls on you, then both you and the worker who did not store the tool are at fault.

Your state laws determine whether you recover your damages if you contributed to the accident. For example, some states have adopted contributory negligence, which allows you to recover damages only if you are completely not at fault. Then there is comparative negligence that allows you to recover damages but reduces them relative to your contribution to the accident. There are also other variations of these laws; talk to your attorney for additional info or further clarification.