Construction projects do not happen in a vacuum. Homes are built in existing neighborhoods. Hotels are erected in busy tourist districts. Airports are renovated in stages as travelers continue to pass through. Apartment buildings are constructed on downtown streets. These work zones create potentially hazardous situations for people who have to pass by—or even through—a construction site. When a person who is not an employee and has no attachment to the construction project whatsoever is injured because someone connected to the site was negligent, it is likely that the injured person can hold the responsible party and their employer liable for damages.
We take a look at when bystanders can bring premises liability claims against construction sites in New Jersey and explain how our construction accident legal team can help you if you find yourself in the same situation.
How Bystanders and Visitors Can Be Injured by Negligence on a New Jersey Construction Site
You might not even be aware that you are passing a construction site as you take your regular route to work or school, and you shouldn’t have to be. It is the responsibility of the construction company, property owner, contractors, and others connected to the site to ensure the safety of people passing by and those who are visiting the site by invitation or out of necessity.
Hazards that could cause serious injuries to innocent bystanders and passers-by include:
- Falling objects. Objects, tools, equipment, or construction materials falling from heights can strike and injure individuals nearby.
- Trip and slip hazards. Uneven surfaces, debris, loose wires, or construction materials left in walkways can cause trips, slips, and falls for passers-by.
- Construction vehicle accidents. Collisions or accidents involving construction vehicles, such as trucks, cranes, or forklifts, can cause severe injuries to pedestrians or nearby vehicles.
- Scaffolding or structure collapse. Weak or improperly installed scaffolding, temporary structures, or building components can collapse, potentially injuring those in proximity.
- Hazardous materials exposure. Improper handling, storage, or containment of hazardous materials on a construction site can result in chemical exposure, respiratory issues, or other health risks for individuals nearby.
- Equipment malfunctions. Machinery or equipment failure can lead to accidents, such as malfunctioning power tools, faulty cranes, or collapsing platforms.
- Electrocution or electrical accidents. Inadequately protected electrical systems, exposed wires, or faulty electrical equipment can pose electrocution hazards to passers-by.
- Fires or explosions. Construction sites involving flammable materials, welding operations, or inadequate fire prevention measures can lead to fires or explosions that may harm nearby individuals.
- Inadequate signage or barriers. Lack of clear warning signs, barricades, or safety barriers may expose visitors or bystanders to construction hazards unknowingly.
Trespassers who are injured on construction sites when they had no right or reason to be there are probably not eligible to file a premises liability claim. However, it is likely that the property owner or construction company lawyer will do everything they can to claim that the victim was trespassing or is ineligible to file a claim for some other reason. That is why you need a skilled construction accident lawyer on your side.
Proving Negligence to Hold a Construction Site Owner Responsible
Depending on the circumstances of the accident that left you injured, your claim could be fairly straightforward, or it could be difficult to prove. For example, if you are walking down an open sidewalk next to a construction site and you are hit by falling debris that should have been caught by safety netting, you probably have a legitimate claim for damages if you suffered serious injuries. However, if you crossed a barrier to take a shortcut and fell into an unmarked hole, your claim would be harder to prove.
To prove negligence in any premises liability case, you need to show all of the following elements:
- The construction site property owner or construction company owed you a duty of care.
- They breached that duty by failing to take measures to keep you safe.
- You suffered an injury.
- The injury was caused by the property owner’s breach of duty.
A premises liability lawyer with extensive knowledge about construction site safety will be your most valuable resource after a bystander injury.
Contact Hofmann & Schweitzer If You Were Injured While Passing by a Construction Site
If you have been hurt, you can be protected under the law and obtain compensation that will promote your financial security and maximum recovery. Fill out our online contact form or call us directly at 800-362-9329 to schedule a free consultation.