Who Could be Liable for a Construction Site Injury?
Construction workers face a variety of hazards, ranging from equipment-related injuries to slip and fall accidents. Despite the best efforts of workers to keep themselves and each other safe, construction site accidents can still happen in almost any weather or worksite conditions.
In some cases, the subcontractor, general contractor, or property owner’s actions or negligence could directly contribute to the injury. Although Michigan law generally restricts workers from suing anyone other than their employer in workplace injury cases, there are exceptions for clear negligence by another entity.
It can be difficult to determine who should be held responsible for an injury on a construction project. You need an expert construction site accident attorney to sort through the specifics of your case and decide the best course of action for you.
Is Workers’ Compensation Enough?
One of the biggest questions facing construction injury cases is whether a liability lawsuit is necessary at all. Michigan workers’ compensation law does give you the right to compensation for medical bills for workplace injuries, without having to prove who was responsible for them.
However, workers’ compensation has strict limits, and only pays about 80% of your post-tax weekly wage. Although it pays your medical bills and vocational rehabilitation costs, this is not enough to compensate you for pain and suffering, especially if your family was affected by your injury.
A negligence lawsuit may be the only way to get the full compensation you deserve. If your employer or another entity’s negligence resulted in injuries that reduced your quality of life or ability to work long-term, then you need to consider all your legal options for securing your financial future.
General Rules of Liability
If a construction site accident was unforeseeable or was the fault of another employee, the contractor who employed you generally cannot be found liable. In order for a negligence lawsuit to be filed, the employer must have disregarded safety practices.
It is your employer’s responsibility to follow guidance of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other relevant legal bodies in the management of the worksite. However, just because an OSHA violation occurred does not necessarily mean the contractor can be sued for negligence, especially if the violation did not directly cause your accident.
Property Owner or General Subcontractor Liability
In order to file a negligence lawsuit against a general subcontractor, the injury must have happened in a “common work area” where the hazard that caused the injury could have potentially harmed a number of other employees. An example of this could be a fall in a commonly-used area that should have had safety nets or railings installed.
A general subcontractor may also be held liable if they held almost complete control over the entire project. The threshold for proving this is difficult to meet, but an experienced construction accident attorney at our law firm can determine if this applies to your case.
The construction site owner can only be sued if the owner knew of and directly caused an unsafe condition. This is rare on construction sites, but could happen in cases of extreme negligence by the owner, or if the owner knowingly hired an unqualified or dangerous contractor.
In some cases, unsafe tools or equipment can cause job site injuries. If manufacturer negligence and failure to adhere to safety standards caused your accident, then the manufacturer could be held liable.
Manufacturer liability works a little differently than other types of injury laws, but the general ideas are the same. You must prove that the manufacturer should have known their product was defective, or was otherwise reckless or irresponsible in their manufacturing practices.
Pursuing Justice for You
Determining the party responsible for your injuries is never as simple as it looks. Michigan laws are complex, and only an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can give you the support you need to win compensation.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. is proud to support Michigan workers who suffer construction site injuries. We work on workers’ compensation, personal injury claim, and product liability cases, so we have the unique legal background needed to determine the best course of action for pursuing justice.
We can represent anyone from welders and electricians to engineers and architects. Call us today at (866) 868-3779 to schedule your free consultation.