Federal and State laws allow the general contractor to keep things reasonably safe on a construction site. However, most construction works are inherently dangerous, and construction accidents are among the most expensive instances of personal injury. Ever year in the U.S., nearly 200,000 construction workers are hurt at the job.Interested readers can find more information about them at Construction Accidents.
Even if a subcontractor is found to be responsible for an accident, the general contractor is usually also held partly responsible. This is because it is the responsibility of the managing contractor to supervise all subcontractor operations at the facility. The general contractor is also liable for recruiting (or training) properly trained employees, maintaining equipment in good working order, warning staff and anyone visiting the construction site about potential hazards, and regularly checking to ensure compliance with protection and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws. However, in the case of a mechanical failure due to poor design or faulty manufacturing, it may be found that the company which built the machine was primarily at fault.
If the injured party on the construction site is a union or non-union employee, workers’ (sometimes called workman’s) compensation insurance will pay for the damages-even if worker error is found to be the cause of the accident. All 50 states have available some form of “work comp” although the specifics vary. Work compliance rules apply between an employee and an employer but if, for example, a product manufacturer is found to be partially responsible for the accident, those rules do not apply in a claim against that manufacturer.
In most states, the worker can file a separate personal injury lawsuit against a third party like the manufacturer of the aforementioned product. Others who may be held liable for a construction accident include architects, subcontractors, riggers, engineers and suppliers of equipment or services like electricity.
For example, a special Scaffolding Law was passed in New York to ensure workers can file personal injury claims against land owners and contractors when a scaffolding and associated equipment accident occurs. If OSHA, which is a division of the Department of Labor, determines that a contractor has violated safety regulations, a certain amount of money per injury can also be fine for the company.
If a worker receives a settlement from workers ‘ compensation insurance and then an additional settlement from a separate personal injury lawsuit related to the same injury, some of its settlement funds may be reimbursed by the workers ‘ compensation insurance firm. On the settlement amount this is called a “lien.” In other terms, employees are not permitted to prosecute several individuals and seek unrestricted cash in lieu of their medical costs for accidents. However, often substantial settlements are awarded when the injuries are severe enough and maybe cause permanent disability. Of course this is justified if the injury could have been avoided and the employee can never work again.