construction worker in hard hat looking at building under constructionConstruction sites are dynamic and ever-changing environments where the potential for accidents and injuries is higher than in most other workplaces. In New York, as in many other states, the concept of premises liability plays a crucial role in determining who is responsible for injuries sustained on these sites.

The law applies differently depending on the injured party’s role on the site, so it’s important to consult the New York construction accident lawyers at Hofmann & Schweitzer as soon as possible after an injury to learn about your right to a premises liability injury claim or lawsuit.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners, occupiers, or managers responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their premises due to negligence or unsafe conditions. It encompasses various types of properties, including residential, commercial, and public spaces, and extends to both invited guests and, in some cases, even trespassers.

The core idea is that those in control of a property have a duty to maintain it in a reasonably safe condition, and if they fail to do so, they may be held legally accountable for any harm or injuries that result from their negligence. Premises liability cases commonly involve slip and fall accidents, inadequate security, structural defects, and other hazardous conditions that endanger visitors or occupants of the property.

How Premises Liability Law Applies to Workers on a Construction Site

Except in very specific situations, construction workers who are injured while on the job in New York cannot sue their own employer for damages, but they can file a claim for workers’ compensation. If the injury was caused by a third party on the site, however, an injured worker might be able to sue the third party for premises liability.

There are many hazards for workers on construction sites. The following are a few types of accidents that could lead to a premises liability claim against a subcontractor or other party on the site.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Construction sites are often cluttered with debris, tools, and materials. Workers may slip and fall on uneven surfaces, wet floors, or due to inadequate lighting. Such accidents can lead to premises liability claims if they result from negligence on the part of the site owner or the general contractor.

Falling Objects

Falling objects pose a significant risk to construction workers. Tools, materials, or equipment falling from heights can lead to severe injuries. If such incidents occur due to poor safety practices or negligence, the injured worker may have grounds for a premises liability claim.

Equipment Malfunctions

Construction sites rely heavily on heavy machinery and equipment. When equipment malfunctions due to inadequate maintenance or negligent oversight, it can result in injuries to workers. Such cases can trigger premises liability claims against those responsible for equipment safety.

Unmarked Hazardous Areas

Failure to adequately mark or secure hazardous areas, like open pits or excavations, can lead to accidents. When workers fall into these areas due to a lack of warning signs or barriers, they may have a valid claim against the responsible parties.

When Visitors to the Site Are Injured Due to Unsafe Premises

Construction site owners and managers also have a responsibility to make the area safe for non-workers who might be on the site and to secure the premises so that passersby or trespassers can’t enter the site and get injured. When a person with no ties to the employers on the site is injured due to negligence, they could have a premises liability lawsuit against the responsible party.

Non-employees can be injured on construction sites in the following ways.

Falling Objects

Visitors, such as inspectors or clients, can also be at risk from falling objects on construction sites. If the site owners or managers fail to take adequate precautions to protect visitors, they may be held liable for injuries caused by falling objects.

Unsafe Access

Insufficient safety measures for site access can expose visitors to risks. Slippery walkways, unsecured staircases, and lack of handrails can lead to accidents, potentially resulting in premises liability claims against the property owner.

Inadequate Signage and Warnings

Visitors may be unfamiliar with the layout of a construction site and the associated dangers. When necessary signage, warnings, and safety guidelines are absent, visitors may not be aware of potential hazards, increasing the risk of accidents.

Lack of Proper Supervision

If visitors to the construction site are not adequately supervised, they may inadvertently place themselves in dangerous situations. In such cases, the site owner or manager may be held liable if an accident occurs.

Why You Need to Talk to a Lawyer After a Construction Site Injury

Premises liability on construction sites in New York extends to both workers on the site and visitors. Construction site owners, managers, and contractors must prioritize safety, follow regulations, and maintain open communication to minimize the risk of accidents. Otherwise, they could be held legally liable for the losses suffered by an injured party.

Timothy F. Schweitzer
Connect with me
Personal injury lawyer specializing in maritime, construction and railroad injury claims.