A construction injury accident is a either work-related injury at a construction site or a injury to a 3rd party at a construction site. Since construction zones are considered to be inherently dangerous areas, regulations, specifications, inspection requirements, and job safety requirements are required to prevent construction site accidents. Construction sites are usually in the middle of areas where pedestrians are in the surrounding areas and sidewalks. Minor mistakes in construction sites can cause major injuries to workers and pedestrians.
What Is a Falling Object Accident?
Falling objects cause many injuries and the occasional fatality at construction sites. Even a small item can cause serious harm if dropped from an elevated position. Employers may have a duty to protect their employees, and innocent bystanders, from harms such as falling objects. Some common possible construction mistakes that cause falling objects in construction sites are:
- Insufficient distance between pedestrians and construction sites which lead to pedestrian injuries if a object falls within the construction zoned area
- Insufficient signs warning pedestrians that the construction site is present and there is a risk of falling objects
- Failing to secure tools and other equipment which leaves them unsecured and causes a high risk of the equipment falling down on walking pedestrians
How Can Falling Object Be Prevented in Construction Sites?
Employers and workers can work together to avoid accidents by implementing detailed safety procedures and training. Steps that can help prevent falling object accidents include:
- Carrying tools in work belts and tool boxes
- Raising equipment and materials with hand lines and elevators
- Placing equipment and materials in safe places, where they will not slide, roll, or vibrate loose, or be blown loose by the wind
- Making sure that workers are aware of who, and what, is underneath them at all times
- Posting warning signs and erecting protective barriers
What Constitutes a Safe Construction Site?
Construction sites that are located within areas that have waling pedestrians have a duty to keep and maintain a safe construction zone to prevent injury. A safe construction zone is mainly keeping a safe distance from pedestrians, complying with all safety measures, having proper warning signs, having all workers wear hard hats throughout the construction sign. If a falling object or debris falls and injures a pedestrian or worker, the construction site is probably not a safe place and extra measures were not taken to prevent this condition.
How Do I Prove There Was a Falling Object Accident in Court?
Falling object accidents, like most personal injury cases, involve negligence, or carelessness. These cases are usually directed at the construction company for carelessness by creating an unsafe work environment. The elements of negligence are duty, breach, causation, and damage.
Either a construction worker or pedestrian who was injured by a falling object may sue the construction company. In order to be successful in a lawsuit caused by a falling object, the plaintiff must prove:
- The defendant had a duty to maintain a safe area within the construction site
- The defendant breached that duty by not taking steps and extra measures to ensure safety of the construction area
- The defendant failure to exercise reasonable care caused injury to the plaintiff
- The plaintiff suffered damages from the falling object and the defendant’s breach
Are There Any Defenses a Construction Company Could Use?
Since falling object accidents are a form of negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the construction company was in fact careless. Some defenses were already mentioned above: the falling object is sometimes required to be construction material which the company controls before injury can be compensated.
- Contributory negligence: This defense will shield the construction company from liability if the plaintiff contribute to their own injury by failing to exercise reasonable care.
- Assumption of the risk : This defense states that the injured party was warned, but took on the danger anyway. These defenses are most viable when there are danger and warning signs around the construction zone.
- Negligence did not cause the actual harm: If the plaintiff was injured by something that was not caused by the construction company, then the plaintiff does not have a claim against the company since they did not contribute in the plaintiffs injury.
Can a Lawyer Help?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, and you believe it is the fault of your employer or another party, contact an attorney. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help you recover for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and possibly even punitive damages. Remember that there are deadlines established in the law, so contact an attorney before it is too late.