Property owner or general contractor: who is responsible for construction site accidents?

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2020 | Construction Accidents

These days, it seems like construction sites are as common a sight in New York City as tourists. The city that never sleeps also never stops growing and changing to reflect the needs and desires of its residents. While the prevalence of construction sites in New York City means new additions and much-needed fixes, these construction sites also pose hazards to the people that interact with them.

When an injury occurs on a construction site, compensation may be in order. But who should be held responsible for the harm caused? Is it the property owner or the general contractor? Determining the liable party is a key component to filing a personal injury claim.

Understanding premises liability and negligence

In most cases, a construction site accident functions as a premises liability claim. Premises liability claims often depend on the doctrine of negligence. For the victim to file a legitimate claim after a construction site injury, they may have to prove:

  1. There was a dangerous condition on the site
  2. A responsible party knew about the dangerous condition
  3. The responsible party didn’t address the problem in a timely manner or at all
  4. The dangerous condition caused the victim harm
  5. The victim’s injury wasn’t caused by their own reckless behavior and wasn’t a pre-existing condition

Depending on the situation, the responsible party may differ.

Property owner or general contractor?

The liable party in a construction site accident will depend on who has control over the site and the condition that caused the injury.

Construction projects often involve the property owner handing over temporary control of the property to their contractor. By handing over control, the owner is also handing over the responsibility to maintain safe conditions for people who rightfully access the property, including workers and approved visitors to the site.

The contractor also has a responsibility to keep their employees safe. If a construction worker suffers an injury because of unsafe conditions, they may hold their employer liable for the harm done.

Other parties

Sometimes, faulty equipment or deficiencies in a construction project’s design can cause construction site accidents. These instances require careful consideration to determine whether the manufacturer of the unsafe equipment or project architect may be at fault for any resulting injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction site accident, work with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine which parties should be held responsible. Bringing an accident claim against the wrong party could invalidate your initial claim and prevent you from getting the compensation you need in a timely fashion.


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