Some construction injuries are caused by sudden accidents, but others are waiting to happen from the minute the building is put on paper. Architects and site designers could be at fault for a construction injury if their work falls below the accepted standards of professional conduct. However, it will take careful investigation to determine if the designer is responsible for a construction site defect.
Design Professionals That May Be Named in Third-Party Claims
Many different designers may be involved in the planning of a construction project, and each one has a different degree of liability for any accidents that occur. In each case, third-party fault will depend on the terms of the designer’s contract with the construction site owner and the degree of involvement the designer had with daily construction operations.
Professionals that could be liable for inaccurate or incorrect design include:
- Architects. As the originator of the entire building plan, architects have a responsibility to produce detailed blueprints, ensure that any edits made by the client comply with building codes, compile project specifications, oversee routine inspections to make sure all structures are built according to the blueprints, conduct site visits to ensure compliance with local building ordinances and regulations, and communicate changes and developments to builders and site owners.
- Landscape architects. The professional who designs the landscaping elements (including location, irrigation, and material selection) must adhere to all zoning laws and ordinances as well as applicable environmental laws. An attorney can help determine whether a landscape architect is liable for a design defect by examining drawings, landscape plans, permits, soil reports, and other documents.
- Land surveyors. Surveyors may be liable if they fail to accurately map the location of each structure, disclose potential environmental factors or land defects, or measure boundary lines between properties. A land survey may also be defective if it fails to comply with zoning regulations or the location requirements of the architectural plan.
- Engineers. Engineers have a duty to ensure that each project or building they create is reasonably safe. They should perform regular inspections during construction to ensure the proper materials have been used, the design elements are practical for the intended use, and the project complies with proper safety codes.
Time Limits on Construction Injury Claims Against Project Designers
Construction design defects can result in injuries to workers during the initial building, but they can also occur during renovations and demolition. Depending on the circumstances of the injury, the time limit on a designer’s liability could extend long beyond the completion of the project.
Our New York construction site attorneys can help you determine the time limit on your case in:
- New Jersey. In New Jersey, injury victims have two years from the date of an accident or injury to file a claim. However, in order to pursue a claim against a designer for professional malpractice, the case may require an Affidavit of Merit to be filed within 60 days of filing the claim. This is a statement from a similar professional outlining the ways the defendant has fallen short of their duty.
- New York. New York does not require an Affidavit of Merit, but it does have a strict statute of limitations. In most cases, claims of professional malpractice against architects and engineers must be brought within three years—the same limit as a personal injury claim.
Let Us Help You Through the Next Steps After a Construction Accident
With so many different factors at play, it can be difficult to tell the exact cause of an accident. What appears to be a design issue could acutely be poor maintenance, poor site direction, or a combination of all three. We can perform a thorough inspection of contracts, building plans, field inspections, and company correspondence to determine whose negligence led to your suffering.
If you were hurt on a New York construction site, contact Hofmann & Schweitzer today or learn more about your rights in our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.