As the primary construction company on the job, your employer is required to follow safety protocols to provide the safest work environment possible. If you are injured while performing your work duties, you would be eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation to pay your medical bills and lost wages.
However, construction sites are busy places, often with multiple subcontractors and their employees on the site at the same time. If negligence on the part of one of the other employers on the site was the direct cause of your accident and injuries, you could also file a personal injury claim against that company. If that happens, you would be smart to hire a construction accident personal injury attorney to represent you.
Examples of Third-Party Negligence on Construction Sites
Subcontractors and other service providers come and go on construction sites, often only working for a day or two at a time. If they are not conscientious about safety, they could be putting their own employees, as well as other workers on the site, in danger of serious injury or death.
Some common causes of accidents caused by third parties on construction sites include the following:
- Neglect of duty. Subcontractors on construction sites may be negligent in their duties, such as by failing to follow safety protocols, providing inadequate training to workers, or using faulty equipment. This negligence can lead to worker injuries or fatalities due to accidents or unsafe working conditions.
- Defective equipment or machinery. Manufacturers or suppliers of construction equipment or machinery may be liable for injuries or deaths caused by defects or malfunctions. Examples include faulty scaffolding, defective power tools, or malfunctioning heavy machinery that can cause accidents, falls, or crush injuries.
- Architectural or engineering mistakes. Architects and engineers involved in the design or planning of construction projects may be negligent in their duties. Poor design choices, miscalculations, or failure to consider safety regulations can contribute to structural collapses, unsafe building conditions, or other accidents causing severe injuries or deaths.
- Failure to comply with safety regulations. Third parties may fail to comply with safety regulations mandated by government agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This can involve disregarding safety protocols, ignoring proper training requirements, or neglecting to provide necessary protective equipment. Non-compliance with safety regulations increases the risk of accidents and worker injuries.
- Careless delivery drivers. Delivery drivers transporting materials or equipment to construction sites may engage in negligent driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted driving, or failing to secure loads properly. Accidents involving delivery vehicles can cause worker injuries or fatalities, particularly if workers are struck, or materials are improperly unloaded.
- Unqualified or negligent inspectors. Third-party inspectors who are responsible for ensuring that construction sites comply with safety standards may be negligent in their inspections or fail to identify hazards. Inadequate inspections can lead to undetected risks, such as structural weaknesses, unstable scaffolding, or unaddressed electrical hazards, putting workers at risk of injury or death.
- Negligent utilities or service providers. Utility companies or service providers working on construction sites, such as electrical, gas, or telecommunications companies, may be negligent in their operations. Faulty wiring, gas leaks, or improperly marked utility lines can lead to fires, explosions, or electrical shock, causing severe injuries or fatalities.
Negligent actions such as these can lead to unsafe working conditions, which can result in falls, electrocution, chemical exposure, or other accidents leading to worker injuries or fatalities.
What Is the Difference Between a Workers’ Comp Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Construction companies are required to carry workers’ comp insurance for their regular employees. If you are a regular employee—not a self-employed contractor—you should be covered by this insurance if you are injured on the job. Because of this coverage, you are barred from suing your employer for damages if your injury was caused by their negligence.
However, if your injury was caused by the negligence of a subcontractor on the site who is not your employer, you would recover compensation by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against them. If your injury claim is successful, you may be required to reimburse any workers’ comp benefits you collected. Contract employees have the right to sue any company on the site whose negligence was the direct cause of their injuries. An injury caused by your own carelessness or negligence would not be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if you are an independent contractor.