How Negligence Causes Construction Accidents

Every year, around 1,000 workers lose their lives on the nation’s construction sites mainly due to somebody’s negligence. That is why the construction industry has landed on the riskiest job list, with 10 out of the 25 positions on that list being related to construction.

What is more, on-the-job deaths across the industry have steadily climbed in recent years, with no improvement in sight. Unfortunately, most of these fatal accidents could have been prevented.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is a legal term closely related to legal liability. If someone’s negligence caused somebody else harm or loss, the negligent person could be held legally liable in civil court and forced to pay damages. However, not all negligent behavior of a person is necessarily grounds for civil action. Negligence needs to include four elements:

·         Duty of care: Under the law, doctors have a duty of care towards their patients to do anything reasonably possible in their circumstances to save their lives or help restore their health. Drivers have a duty to drive carefully and not put other traffic participants’ lives at risk. A property or business owner has a duty to keep their premises safe for visitors and, in some very strict cases, even for trespassers.

·         Violation of duty: If any of the people mentioned above breach their duty of reasonable care, they may be held liable. For example, if a distracted driver hit a pedestrian because he was having an argument on the phone at the time of the accident, the driver breached their duty toward the pedestrian. The same goes for a doctor prescribing unsafe doses of medication to a patient or operating the wrong body part.

·         Cause-and-effect relationship: For a person who breached their duty of care to be held responsible, the injured party must prove that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the violation of duty and the accident that caused their injuries and loss.

·         Actual damages: To prove negligence, the injured person must also prove that they were actually injured by the other party’s negligent behavior or that they suffered a loss.

However, not all accidents, including those on a construction site, are somebody’s fault. But when they are caused by a person’s or entity’s negligence, the at-fault party can be held legally liable.

Who Is at Fault for a Construction Site Accident?

Multiple people or entities can be held liable for a construction site incident that injured workers or bystanders, including:

·         Construction company

·         Construction site supervisor

·         Construction worker

·         Property owner or administrator

·         Equipment maker or designer

·         Engineer

·         Architect

·         Contractor

·         Government.

How Negligence Causes Construction Accidents

Depending on whom is responsible for the construction site accident, negligence comes in various forms. For instance. If the at-fault party is the construction company, it means that the company failed to secure the job site or provide workers with the right safety equipment and training on how to use it.

Under vicarious liability laws, construction companies could be held liable for their employees’ actions because they are considered that they failed to discourage reckless or dangerous behavior among its workers before an accident happened. But that doesn’t mean that the worker or workers who caused the accident don’t have their share of fault.

Construction workers and contractors are responsible for a construction site accident if they were negligent or broke the site’s safety rules. For instance, if a worker fails to secure a power tool and another worker or bystander gets seriously injured as a result, the at-fault worker will have to foot the medical bills and cover other losses. The worker might get help from their employer if the injured party decides to hold both parties liable.

Another negligent party that can be held liable in a construction site accident is the property owner. Under premises liability laws, property owners and managers must keep their premises free of hazards that might injure visitors.

For instance, the property owner or manager must place warning signs and obstacles to prevent visitors from entering a location with dangerous conditions. They also must ensure that there are no slip-and-fall hazards like wet floors or slippery stairs on their premises. Property owners are usually held liable when contractors get injured on their properties. For example, if the property owner fails to warn a renovation worker about the broken stairs in their dimly lit cellar and the contractor falls and gets severely injured, the worker is entitled to construction accidents compensation, which they can pursue from the negligent property owner or their insurer.

About the Author:

With a law degree under his belt and years of experience, Mark Scott set off to make the law more accessible to all. He decided to help people lost in the maze of legal terminology to find their way. Mark writes clear and concise pieces and gives simple advice that is easy to follow. On account of positive feedback from readers, he decided to dedicate more of his time to this goal and became a legal columnist. In his writings, Mark covers a wide array of topics, like how to seek legal counsel, or how to deal with different procedures. Furthermore, he directs his readers toward other trustworthy resources for more in-depth information.

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