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Construction Accidents

Published June 12, 2007 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Construction accidents kill or injure thousands each year. Due to the heavy machinery, equipment and materials at construction sites, injuries incurred in construction site accidents are sometimes extremely serious. The law requires that construction companies ensure a reasonably safe site, develop and implement safety programs, inspect each site for safety compliance, coordinate job safety, warn of hazards related to the site and work, and prescribe the necessary protective equipment. Despite these regulations, construction site work remains one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States today, with the majority of injuries and fatalities associated with electrocutions and falls. Other hazards at construction sites include:

  • Crane and scaffolding accidents
  • Dangerous and defective machines
  • Mechanical and chemical handling of compressed gas
  • Logging accidents
  • Welding, cutting and brazing injuries

Many construction accident cases involve several potential third-party defendants, parties such as the owners, architects, subcontractors and equipment manufacturers, all of whom may bear responsibility for your injuries. Third-party negligence is the legal term to assign liability for insufficient safety provisions or negligence to others. Construction equipment makers may also be found negligent if injuries are caused by the defective design and manufacture of their products ranging range from power tools to scaffolding to heavy equipment. Injured workers are most often prohibited from suing their employers or co-workers because of New York’s Workers Compensation Law.

In any personal injury case, negligence must be proven and it must be established that the injury was caused by that negligence in order for a damage award to be made. You must be able to prove the critical elements of negligence including 1) the defendant had a duty to you, 2) the defendant failed in that duty, and 3) your injury was caused by the defendants’ breach of duty and that damages resulted from the injury.

Construction companies are required by law to inspect each worksite to ensure worker safety. The contractor and all subcontractors must provide a reasonably safe work environment as well as warn workers of hazards that are inherent in the site and nature of the work. They must also take reasonably adequate steps to hire careful employees, coordinate job safety and supervise compliance with safety specifications.

Construction equipment manufacturers also have a responsibility to design and maintain safe products intended for use at the work site. This responsibility includes preventing the use of defective or unreasonably dangerous products. Products included (but not limited to) are: scaffolding, power tools, cranes, derricks, hoists, conveyors, woodworking tools, ladders, winches, trucks, graters, scrapers, tractors, bulldozers, forklifts, boilers, pressure vessels and gas detectors.

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