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Construction Site Injuries: Evaluating the Injured Party

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Construction injury law is an inherently complex area of law. When a construction injury case goes to litigation, there are many moving parts and multiple involved parties. The involvement of multiple parties creates a legal environment of shifting liabilities and a web-like map of possibly liable persons depending on the circumstances of the accident. The outcome of the case also hinges on the identity of the injured party. Two frequently injured parties on construction sites are construction workers and visitors who appear on construction sites to conduct business.

Liability for Visitor Injuries

Liability for visitor injury is dependent on the purpose of the injured party’s presence on the construction site. The identity of the party who invited the injured visitor is also important. The identity of the party who invited the injured visitor can determine the theory of liability that applies and where the blame lies. If a property owner invites a homebuyer to see a house that is under construction for purpose of purchase, the property owner is likely responsible for any injuries sustained by the homebuyer. In this case, the negligence theory of the invitee applies. An invitee is a person who is given permission to enter an owner’s property for the purpose of conducting business. Under this negligence theory, an invitee is owed the highest duty of care.  For example, a property owner is obligated to place warning signs where appropriate and inform the business visitor of all known danger. In this case, the homebuyer who was invited to see the property can rightly file suit against the property owner for not meeting the standard of care. In the alternative, if the visitor was invited onto the property by the contractor, the outcome of this scenario is likely less litigious. In most state workers’ compensation plans, visitors of contractors are covered for injuries sustained while working on behalf of the contractor. In some instances, subcontractors are also covered under this theory.

Liability for Employee Injuries

Normally, the liability for an employee’s injury rests on the shoulders of the company that employs them (i.e., the contractor). Employees are covered by workers’ compensation plans and other employer-based insurance plans. However, in some cases, liability for an employee’s work site injury is difficult to determine. A third party can be additionally liable depending on the circumstances of the accident. In such scenarios, manufacturers of equipment and devices can share the blame if it is determined that the cause of an accident was due to a product defect or failure. Here, injured parties can recover through their workers’ compensation plans and through responsible third parties.

Do You Need a Construction Law Attorney?

Brendan A. Sweeney is an experienced construction law attorney who will provide you with zealous representation and invaluable advice as you navigate through your construction-based legal issues. Construction law is a highly complex area of the law. You need an attorney who is ready to defend you and understands the complexities of Florida’s construction injury law. Contact us for your legal assessment today.

Resource:

law.cornell.edu/wex/invitee

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