August 15th, 2013

Liability in a Construction Accident Case

Many injured workers are misinformed about their civil rights. You may not know of your right to file a lawsuit against any person, business, company, etc. whose negligence led to the accident and injuries.

The potential defendants in an injured worker’s civil lawsuit can include any of the following: businesses, companies, general contractors, subcontractors, owners, architects, and more. There may be a products liability claim against a tool or equipment manufacturer or distributor. There may be a negligent repair claim against a machine maintenance company.

There are multiple types of claims, depending on the circumstances of a given case. Some of the most common claims made against third parties include:

  • violation of applicable OSHA standards,
  • failure to provide a safe construction site,
  • failure to properly coordinate the work at the construction site,
  • failure to adequately train employees,
  • failure to provide safety protection,
  • failure to hire competent employees, safety inspectors, etc., and
  • failure to warn workers of dangerous and unsafe conditions at the site.

Negligent Hiring/Negligent Retention Claims in Construction Site Accident Cases

In some cases, liability of a general contractor or subcontractor flows from negligently hiring or retaining an unqualified subcontractor. A general contractor may hire or retain a subcontractor which is unqualified to perform a specific job. If a job site worker is injured by the actions of that subcontractor, the general contractor and the subcontractor may be liable.

For example, a general contractor may hire an unlicensed or unqualified steel subcontractor who lays steel supports incorrectly. If a worker is later injured due to buckling of a wall or floor, that worker could have a claim against not only the steel subcontractor, but also the general contractor for negligent hiring/retention.

The Two Year Statute of Limitations in Construction Accident Lawsuits in PA or NJ

Like most states, Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. For the majority of injured workers, this means that the Statute of Limitations will expire two years after the date of the accident.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are some exceptions to the Statute of Limitations. For example, a defendant’s fraudulent conduct or fraudulent concealment may toll the Statute of Limitations. Another exception to the Statute of Limitations is the discovery rule. Under this rule, the Statute of Limitations expires not two years from the date of the injury, but two years from the date a plaintiff discovered that he or she was injured and that the injury was caused by the defendant.

Statute of Limitations issues are time sensitive and fact specific. Each case requires careful analysis by a qualified, experienced work accident attorney.