Construction Site Accidents
It’s no surprise that construction sites can be extremely dangerous environments that can result in catastrophic and life-altering injuries. From scaffolding collapses and trench collapses, to falling objects and equipment, there are many ways in which someone can sustain serious injuries. This is especially true when parties act negligently or sacrifice construction site safety for speed. In the world of construction, there is no room for cutting corners particularly when lives are at stake.
Massachusetts construction injury claims differ in many ways from other personal injury actions and these differences must be taken into account when handling a construction site accident claim. There are varying regulations, standards of acceptable conduct, laws and contractual provisions that must be reviewed and incorporated into any analysis when proving liability. In addition, construction accident claims often involve complex insurance issues including the application of contract provisions such as indemnity clauses, which can present significant issues of law.
The law office of Curran & Desharnais, P.C. in Weymouth provides legal representation for individuals who have suffered injuries on constructions sites throughout Massachusetts.Investigating the Construction Site Accident
Construction sites are dynamic and conditions can change rapidly. Everyone is under pressure to get the job done on schedule and a hole or a trench that was present one day may be gone the next. Likewise, a piece of broken or defective equipment may end up in a dumpster resulting in lost evidence. For these reasons, it is important to begin the investigation process as soon as possible.Important Factors for Construction Site Accidents
One of the first steps to establishing liability for a construction injury is to show that there was a violation or breach of the landowner’s duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition in light of all the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the injury and the burden of avoiding the risk. See Mounsey v. Elard, 363 Mass. 693, 708 (1973).
In other words, was there a duty owed and, if so, what conduct is required by that duty? In the setting of a construction injury case, this means that a landowner must take steps to ensure the site is maintained in a manner that will avoid or minimize the likelihood of injury to others.
However, the duties owed by a landowner are subject to what the courts have called the “open and obvious danger rule.” O’Sullivan v. Shaw, 431 Mass. 201, 204 (2000). This rule basically provides that no duty is owed to anyone regarding dangers which are to be open and obvious to a person of average intelligence and with ordinary reasonable judgment.
It should be noted, however, that Massachusetts courts have found that violations of safety codes or other statutes can be admitted as evidence of negligence, even if the danger was “open and obvious.”
Thus, an important focus in the investigation a construction site injury is to determine whether or not the danger was “open and obvious.” Questions such as, the length of time the hazard existed on the site as well as other factors such as lighting conditions, warning signs, weather conditions and other job-site conditions (i.e., the presence of any barricades, safety nets, guardrails) are important to answering this question.
Below are just few examples of construction site accidents that could give rise to liability:
- Injuries from falling tools or debris;
- Injuries from falling scaffolding;
- Injuries from open trenches;
- Injuries from operation of heavy equipment;
- Injuries from lack of guardrails;
- Injuries from exposed holes;
- Injuries from lack of safety nets:
- Injuries from defective or broken equipment;
- Injuries from bucket trucks;
- Injuries from lack of hazard signs
These are just a few examples of the type of construction accidents that could result in a claim for negligence and there are no doubt endless ways in which a construction worker or other individual can be seriously injured on a construction job site.
Joseph Curran, Jr. is an experienced construction site accident attorney. He has represented injured parties as well as owners, general contractors and subcontractors on both public and private construction projects on a variety of matters. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association as well as the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries while on a construction job site, you must take action to protect your legal rights.