Fox & Farley, Attorneys at Law

Determining liability for construction accidents

When construction workers in Tennessee are injured on the job, they may not know who to hold liable if the injuries result from negligent acts. This might be because there can be several people in charge at a single work site, from the property owner to prime contractors, and even an architect or an equipment manufacturer can contribute to a workplace injury.

A property owner is not always the legal possessor of land on which there is a construction site. He or she might have turned over all control of the property to the contractor who is in charge of the project. However, this does not always release the property owner of liability in the event of an injury, such as if there was a dangerous condition on the property of which the owner either knew or should have known.

The owner turning control of the property over to contractors also transfers a great deal of liability. Depending on the scope of a contractor’s duties, he or she may be responsible for everything at a job site or just a small portion of the site in addition to any workers who are in that area. A contractor who controls the entire site must ensure compliance with safety regulations and hire and train competent workers. A contractor who is responsible for a portion of the work site takes responsibility for the actions of those working under that person.

Construction equipment manufacturers are also responsible for worker safety by making sure that all of their products meet the appropriate safety guidelines in design and manufacture, and architects and engineers should ensure compliance with their plans as the construction work goes on. Most injury accidents will result in a simple workers’ compensation claim. However, if negligence on the part of someone who is in charge of a work site leads to an injury, the injured worker may waive his or her right to workers’ compensation benefits and instead hold that party accountable in court.

Source: Findlaw, “Construction Injury Overview”, July 11, 2014

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