Property owner liability in construction accidents
Construction workers constantly deal with some of the most uninviting, dangerous working conditions of any industry around the globe. Unsurprisingly, these conditions often result in workers receiving serious injuries on the job, including brain injury and death. To combat the costs of dealing with these injuries, construction businesses obtain workers’ compensation insurance. However, there may be instances where an injured party can seek relief outside of their worker’s compensation claim from the person who owns the site that is being improved by the construction company.
A common occurrence
The Tampa Bay Times reported that a 32-year-old construction worker was recently injured when the large piece of machinery he was operating flipped over and pinned him to the ground. He sustained significant injury to his lower left leg.
In an unrelated incident, WKOW reports that a Madison, Wisconsin construction worker sustained heavy injuries when he recently fell from the scaffolding surrounding the building on which he was working. He fell approximately 40 to 50 feet, or four stories and is believed to be alive, but in critical condition.
When property owners can be held liable
In both of the aforementioned cases, the individuals may have third-party claims against the property owners on whose site they were working. Other than the landowner, many contractors, subcontractors, designers, engineers, managers, and material suppliers are all actively involved in a site at any given time. Additionally, a growing number of large-scale projects are now handled by construction management firms. The larger the site and scope of the project, the more delegation is involved. This creates a chain of command that can be difficult to set aside to place all liability solely on the property owner.
For an injured party to file a successful third-party claim, they must clearly show how much control the owner had over his land and improvements at the time of the accident. If a landowner passes enough control of the premises on to the contractor, he may no longer be considered to be the legal possessor of the site until the project comes to a close.
However, Illinois law states that the owner remains liable for any injury that occurs to workers on the property that the owner should have reasonably known of and prevented. When a third-party claim is successful, injured parties can expect to receive compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
An exception to this occurs when potentially dangerous conditions are obvious to workers, which they choose to ignore.
Construction accidents and third-party claims can be incredibly complicated areas of law. Those who have been involved in a Chicago construction accident should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss their options to ensure that they are getting the maximum compensation for their injuries.