Construction is a dangerous occupation, and there are a lot of potential hazards that are present on a typical job site. Workers are performing tasks in a fast-paced environment, often in high elevations (such as on top of a roof or the second floor of a multiple story building). Because of the risks that construction workers encounter every day, it is imperative that those in charge of construction projects follow all OSHA safety regulations and best practices.
There are a number of reasons why construction site accidents happen, and one of the most common is because of dangerous property conditions. Landowners are responsible for maintaining a safe property for visitors and providing adequate warnings about hazards that may exist on the property.
Failure to live up to this responsibility makes an owner potentially liable for a construction site accident that occurs. In many cases, however, it could be a party other than the landowner who has control of the property and is at fault for the accident.
Basic Rules for Premises Liability Construction Site Accidents
Accidents that are caused by defective or dangerous conditions on a property are known as “premises liability” accidents. This type of accident could occur on a residential or commercial property, and it can happen for a number of reasons. For example, if an area of the property has cracked pavement or an uncovered hole in the ground, it is the responsibility of the owner or whoever is in charge of the property to either address these hazards or provide adequate warning about them for property visitors.
The level of responsibility that the owner or caretaker has depends on the type of visitor that enters the property. For example, trespassers are unwelcome visitors for whom the owner has very little responsibility. All they are required to do is refrain from willful conduct that is designed to entrap them.
Licensees and invitees are the other two categories of visitors, and both groups have a right to be on the property. The main difference is that licensees generally enter for their own benefit, while invitees enter for the benefit of the owner or caretaker.
A construction worker who is working on a job site would fall into the category of an invitee, because they are hired to perform work on the property. As such, they are owed the highest duty of care.
With regards to those who do work on the property, it is the responsibility of a landowner or caretaker to:
- Maintain the property in good condition.
- Inspect the property regularly for hazards.
- Repair or otherwise address hazardous conditions.
- Warn property visitors about hazardous conditions that cannot be repaired.
Who has Control Over the Property at the Time of the Construction Accident?
One question that frequently comes up with construction accidents that are caused by dangerous property conditions is what level of control the owner has over the job site. In some cases, the landowner has direct control over the property. But in other cases, control has been handed over to an outside party.
An example of owner control of the property is when a construction crew is hired to put on a new roof and redo the siding on a residential home. Assuming that the owner is living inside the house at the time that the project is happening, it would be reasonable to assume that they are aware (or should be aware) of any hazards on the property that could cause injuries to workers.
An example of outside control would be a case where a construction crew is building a new structure on a vacant lot. In this instance, it is likely that the landowner has released legal control of the property to a general contractor or another outside party. When a party other than the owner has control of the property, then this is the party that would be responsible if an accident were to occur because of dangerous property conditions.
Contact a Seasoned Atlanta Construction Accident Injury Lawyer
Construction site accidents are complicated events in which there could be a number of factors. Dangerous property conditions are one possibility, but there also could be other types of negligence that contribute to the accident. A thorough investigation is necessary to get to the bottom of what happened and determine who was at fault. In many cases, multiple parties might share responsibility.
If you got injured in a construction accident in Atlanta or anywhere in Georgia, Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. is ready to go to work for you. We have been standing up for injured workers for five decades, and we have the experience, knowledge, resources, and commitment to help ensure that our clients are able to recover maximum compensation for their injuries.
To schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of her attorneys, message us online or call our office today at 678-981-5370.