Your next step after a Construction Injury

There is a reason construction workers are depicted with hardhats no matter where you go. Construction sites are dangerous. With all the heavy equipment, unfinished edges, power tools, nails, flooring that hasn’t been reinforced, or any of another dozen hazards, a construction site is an accident—or a lawsuit—waiting to happen.

Thousands of construction accidents happen each year, and in the unpleasant event that something happens to you, one of your workers, or a visiting client, it is important to follow several steps. Even after the immediate danger of a situation has passed, there is potential for a lawsuit, which could get ugly for everyone involved.

Obviously, the first step in any construction accident is to get the injured person the medical attention they require. Whether it is simple first aid or you need to call an ambulance, make sure that the injured party is taken care of. But then what?

Report the injury to the necessary authorities

Make sure that everyone who should know about the accident is informed as soon as possible. This includes the construction site manager, as well as a point of contact for the injured person, if party. If the person who was injured was an employee, this includes OSHA, particularly if it required hospitalization or anything even more serious.

Gather information about the accident

Once the immediate danger to the injured person has passed, start gathering as much information as possible about the accident. This includes the circumstances of the accident, such as who was involved, the sequence of events that led to the injury, and any possible failure of equipment.

Accuracy in these matters is crucial, so make sure to gather as much information as possible. Not only will it help to prevent similar accidents in the future, but it may prove very important if a lawsuit arises. Gather the names and contact information of any witnesses in case inspectors or attorneys need to contact them later.

Preserve evidence of the event, if possible

Once the emotional stress of the accident has passed, memories begin to fade quickly, so if there is physical evidence of the occurrence, do what you can to preserve it. Have someone take pictures of the site. Take close-ups of particularly important angles, such as the specific location, any tools or equipment that were involved, and any breaks in the structure that occurred during the event. Include wider shots as well, which will allow for additional analysis. If possible, take pictures of the injuries themselves, but prioritize the injured person’s safety, of course.

If there was a particular tool or piece of equipment involved in the accident, try to keep it in the same condition it was immediately following the event.

Determine who is liable

Depending on several factors, there are a wide range of individuals who could hold liability for a construction site accident. You should have a system in place at your construction sites which can have a significant impact on determining who is liable. The main determining factors are the amount of control each person has over the construction site and the work being done.

While the site owner often shares a burden of the responsibility, they may give a significant amount of control over to the contractors. Contractors and subcontractors are required to provide a reasonably safe work environment to their employees as well, which includes hiring competent employees and enforcing compliance with safety regulations.

If the injury was caused by a design flaw, the architects and engineers may hold some responsibility as well. Meanwhile, the manufacturers of tools and equipment that may have failed hold are also responsible for injuries incurred in such an event.

Contact an attorney

An informed attorney should be able to advise you how to best proceed, particular if the injured person seeks a lawsuit. Make sure that your lawyer is familiar with your specific state’s or country’s guidelines. Just as with family law, personal injury law is different for every location. Someone who is well-versed in commercial litigation and personal injury law will be able to give you the best advice about how to proceed to make sure that everyone is taken care of and treated properly under the law.

An injury is one of the most dreaded scenarios in any construction project, so it’s better to prevent it ahead of time. Make sure that everyone at your construction site is following all of the proper guidelines and regulations. Inspect your equipment regularly and repair or replace any faulty tools. Require any visitors and workers to wear the proper safety equipment. In the end, the best protection from an injury lawsuit is ensuring that no injury ever happens in the first place.

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