Who Is Responsible When Construction Workers Are Hurt on the Job?
There can be many parties involved on a job site, and each of these parties may bear some responsibility for a construction worker’s injury or death.
Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and workers face serious risks every day. Unfortunately, injuries are common says Jonathan C. Reiter a leading NYC based Construction accident lawyer.
When a worker is hurt on a construction site, the first priority should be seeking medical care as soon as possible. However, it doesn’t take long for bills to start piling up. Additionally, construction workers must worry about missing time from work and dealing with pain from their injuries.
On a large construction site, there can be many parties who bear responsibility for a construction worker’s injuries.
Construction Sites Are Dangerous
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 4,300 construction workers were killed at work in 2014. These deaths accounted for over 20 percent of workplace fatalities that year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that construction workers suffer deadly workplace injuries at a rate three times higher than American workers in other industries.
By nature, construction is a dangerous job. In some cases, workers must do their jobs at extreme heights, where a slip and fall can mean a catastrophic injury or death. Crews must also work with heavy machinery and tools that require electricity, putting them at risk of electrocution. In other cases, they must use chemicals and toxins on the job.
On construction sites, around 95 percent of health issues workers encounter are due to injuries, with the remaining 5 percent made up of illnesses. Construction work injuries are so common that OSHA refers to the most common construction work injuries as the “fatal four.” Together, these four types of injuries accounted for over 60 percent of construction worker deaths in 2014.
Falls – At 40 percent of all construction deaths, falls are the most common accident type among the fatal four. There were 359 deaths in 2014.
Electrocution – 8.2 percent of construction deaths were caused by electrocution, with 74 workers dying due to electrocution.
Struck by an object – This can include objects dropped from a height or a tool or piece of machinery striking someone. These types of accidents accounted for 8.1 percent of fatalities, with 73 workers killed.
- Caught in between objects – Crushing injuries killed 39 construction workers and accounted for 4.3 percent of construction deaths.
Who Is Liable for Construction Worker Injuries?
Many construction sites in New York City are sprawling job sites with a lot of moving parts. There can be many parties involved on a job site, and each of these parties may bear some responsibility for a construction worker’s injury or death.
Site owner – The owner of the site is usually the possessor of the property while a construction job is ongoing. As the land’s owner or occupant, the site owner typically exercises significant control over the site and the work being performed. This usually means they are legally liable for injuries or deaths that occur when they knew or should have known about a hazardous condition on the property.
General contractor – The general contractor, as well as certain subcontractors, may be held liable when a worker is injured or killed. In many cases, it falls to the general contractor to make sure that workers have the appropriate safety equipment and training to work without being unnecessarily exposed to dangers.
- Architects – In some cases, a construction accident occurs because a building or structure is inherently unsafe or hasn’t been properly inspected before work is permitted to continue. It may be possible for an architect or a building engineer to bear responsibility for a construction worker’s death or injury.
- Equipment manufacturers – If a construction site injury or death occurs due to faulty or defective equipment, the maker of that equipment could be held liable for a construction accident that leads to death or injury.
What to Do If You Have Been Hurt on a Construction Site
If you have been injured on the job as a construction worker, there are steps you can take to help protect your claim. First, you should get medical help for your injuries. It’s important to avoid delays in medical treatment, as an insurance company or other responsible party might try to argue that your injuries were caused by some other type of accident rather than the construction site accident.
You should also gather as much information as you can after your accident. If there’s an opportunity to file an accident report, make sure you follow the proper protocols for making your report. Talk to witnesses and ask them to write down what they observed. If possible, take photos of the accident site as well as your injuries.
It’s also important to discuss your case with an experienced New York City construction accident lawyer. Construction injury cases can be complicated. A knowledgeable construction accident lawyer can help you understand your rights.