Are You Liable if Someone Gets Hurt While Repairing Your Fire Damaged Property?
Construction accidents do not just cause physical pain. They can also lead to psychological and financial pain for the injured and their family.
That is why one of the first things you should do if someone has been injured while working on repairs at your fire damaged house is to call a lawyer.
Unfortunately, you can be sued and held liable for injuries that occur to workers at your fire damaged house. Many homeowners assume the workers are covered by their company’s insurance policy, but that may not be the case.
The end result is that you could be out thousands of dollars unexpectedly. Let’s take a closer look at construction accidents.
Common Causes of Construction Site Accidents
There are a huge number of situations that can lead to construction site accidents. Laws put in place at the state and federal level are meant to limit the number of workplace injuries, however product defects, negligence and failure to follow the existing laws and regulations can still lead to accidents.
These are some of the leading causes of construction site accidents:
- Insufficient or improper training
- Insufficient safety precautions
- Accidents involving cranes, hoists and harnesses
- Improper equipment maintenance
- Defective equipment
- Collapsed structures, mechanical hazards, and compressed gas accidents
- Toxic substance exposure
- Explosions and fires
- Slips and falls
- Falling objects
- Electrical and welding accidents
With your home repairs, you could be at risk for several of these, including toxic substance exposure, falling objects, slips and falls, electrical accidents and more.
What to Do If Someone is Injured While Working on Your Property
If someone is injured while doing fire damage repairs in your home, there are certain steps that should be taken.
- First, get medical attention for the injury and then report the injury to the company boss if he is not present.
- Next, information should be gathered from anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Also, photos should be taken of the injury itself, the injury scene, and any equipment that was involved in the injury.
- Finally, an attorney should be contacted so that you can immediately begin protecting your rights.
Who is Liable for Construction Site Accident Injuries?
When an employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, they are immune from personal injury lawsuits in most cases. If the injury wasn’t egregious or intentional though, a lawsuit can still be brought against an employer.
In most cases, lawsuits for construction site accident injuries are filed against third parties. Here are some of the entities against whom construction site injury lawsuits are often filed:
- The construction site owner: Liability for the site owner is typically determined by the degree of control the owner has over the site rather than the degree of control over the work being done at the site.
- General contractors and sub-contractors: These entities are responsible for providing a safe work environment and warning employees of any potential hazards under OSHA regulations. They are also responsible for ensuring that safety regulations are followed and that work on the site is being done safely. If they fail in any of these responsibilities and an injury occurs they can be held liable for damages and an injured worker can claim compensation from them.
- Engineers and architects: These individuals may be responsible for observing progress and ensuring that the appropriate code regulations are being followed. An attorney can determine if an engineer or architect is liable for an injury by investigating their contract with the construction company.
- Manufacturers and distributors: Any entity in the chain of distribution for a defective product may be held liable for injuries related to the use of that product.
- Homeowners – As the owner of a fire-damaged house that is being repaired you have two options: 1) Exercise control over the repairs or 2) Don’t exercise control of the repairs. Both approaches come with liability risks. You should talk with an attorney if you are concerned your fire damage repairs could be risky.
Construction Site Accident Claim Types
Here are the types of construction site accident claims that are typically filed, as the homeowner of a fire damaged house you would be particularly concerned about personal injury claims.
The types of claims commonly filed are:
- Workers’ Compensation Claims: When an injured employee is seeking workers’ compensation, they may not also bring a lawsuit against their employer. Instead, they access the benefits entitled to them under workers’ compensation laws. In workers’ compensation cases, the injured employee only needs to prove that an injury occurred, the surrounding circumstances are irrelevant. Claimants may bring lawsuits against other third parties though to maximize their recovery of damages.
- Personal Injury Claims: These claims are made to prove that some third party was responsible for the worker’s injury and that negligence was the cause of the injury.
- Product Liability: If the construction site injury was caused by a defective product or piece of equipment, the worker may bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor of the product or equipment.
- Wrongful Death: In cases where a worker was killed on the construction site, their family may be able to claim wrongful death and receive compensation.
These cases are not exclusive of each other, so there may be situations in which multiple claims may be filed.
What Damages Can an Injured Worker Receive?
As mentioned earlier, construction accidents do not just cause physical pain. They can also lead to psychological and financial pain for the injured and their family. By filing a lawsuit claim, the injured person can recover damages for the following:
- Wage losses
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy and counseling costs
- Damage to personal property
- Living expenses such as mortgages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium and life enjoyment
Should I Contact a Construction Site Accident Attorney?
If someone suffers an injury doing fire damage repairs in your home, you most likely should contact a lawyer. There are a broad variety of federal and state laws that might be applicable in each given situation. Plus, there are several parties who could be held responsible for injuries in construction site cases.
Only thorough and detailed investigation of the records and circumstances can determine liability. A construction site injury attorney can navigate these complex laws to determine the appropriate course of action.
Avoid the Possibility of Worksite Injuries
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