What happens if you are hurt on a construction site?
Construction site injuries are relatively common, which makes sense. Sharp, heavy equipment and lots of busy employees ensure constant opportunities for injury. Despite a variety of regulations intended to keep people safe, the question often comes up and people want to know what happens if you are hurt on a construction site.
Regardless of whether you are an employee or a visitor to a construction site, you will likely be entitled to compensation from the parties liable for the site. Receiving prompt medical attention and documenting the extent of your injuries will help you recover money owed to you if you suffer a construction site injury.
What is a construction site?
Construction projects take place on residential property, commercial property and industrial property. While the idea of a “construction site” may bring to mind hundreds of workers scurrying around a giant skyscraper, the reality of course is that construction takes place in all sizes and shapes. A one-man roofing operation can easily drop a bucket from two stories and hit a passer-by below.
A building permit is not required before something is officially considered a construction site. In fact, there are no hard and fast rules about what creates a site for these purposes. The total project does not need to include a particular number of people nor exceed a certain dollar value. It does not need to have green protective fencing around it or people in hardhats.
This makes sense if you think about it from a jury’s perspective. We should not allow a contractor who allowed a serious accident to occur to escape liability just because an area is called a construction site or not.
What are common causes of injuries on a construction site?
The most obvious cause of construction injury is being struck by an object. In addition to this however there are numerous hazards that can cause physical harm, including falls, electrocutions and exposure to toxic substances.
Many injuries are a result of inadequate safety warnings, improper inspection procedures, inexperienced or poorly trained workers or negligent acts by contractors.
If you have ever watched a large construction project take place you can see the buzzing activity of people working alongside each other. While they may (sometimes) be in similar outfits, their roles and responsibilities are often very different. Electricians focus on their area of expertise while framers work in the same area on completely different tasks. This can lead to confusion as to whose ladder that is, who plugged into this power outlet, and who left the sawblade lying on the floor like that.
Were you supposed to be on the construction site in the first place?
Construction sites should be set up to prevent injuries not only to workers and residents, but also anyone that happens to walk by. If you are jogging on a sidewalk adjacent to a building renovation and a hammer drops on your head, it is clearly the fault of the contractors in charge. They will be expected to know that the sidewalk is being used and that joggers are a possibility they need to look out for.
Sometimes people will wander unknowingly onto a dangerous site and not realize it. This is also generally the fault of the contractor, who should have posted appropriate fencing or signage to warn people of the danger.
But what if someone was on the construction site at night with the intention of stealing materials and they are subsequently injured. Well, they’re probably out of luck. Based on California’s contributory negligence laws, a court will likely find that that person is a trespasser and therefore their ability to recover money for injury will be greatly reduced.
Who is at fault in construction site injuries?
Typically, a general contractor will organize the entirety of a construction site with the assistance of various subcontractors. These relationships are relatively fluid, and one electrician might be there this week while a different electrician is on site next week. It is possible that more than one contractor or related party is responsible for a construction site injury. This means that the investigative process after a construction site injury is particularly important. Contractors are notoriously quick to blame others and your personal injury attorney will help direct a detailed review of what happened and who is at fault.
What should you do if you are hurt on a construction site?
First and most importantly you need to get medical attention. Pursue emergency care as necessary. Your safety and future health are of the utmost importance.
Secondly, while it is usually a good idea to get in touch with a great local injury attorney quickly after an accident, it is particularly important in a construction site case. The fact is that projects finish, and when they do the entire site might look different than when the injury took place. Photography, videography, measurements and on-site interviews need to take place immediately in order to preserve evidence for later trial if necessary.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a construction site call Christopher Marshall Law now at (858) 964-2324.