Who May Be at Fault in a Construction Accident?

Apr 8, 2021 | Personal Injury

They may seem simple on the onset—a fall from a scaffold or faulty machinery causing injury—but construction accidents can be quite complex. In some cases, you may have to file for workers’ compensation. In other cases, you may have to make a third-party claim to seek damage recovery. Not only that, but your role or classification on the construction site may further complicate things. Were you a contractor at the time? A part-time employee? Full-time employee?

Your case may be made easier with all these complexities out of the way, and clearing the air starts by understanding ways fault may vary in construction accidents and how personal injury attorneys go about proving fault.

A Brief Summary of Negligence

If you’ve never made a personal injury claim, you’re likely unaware of how negligence plays into a successful case. Day-to-day activities come with underlying duties, sometimes more explicit than others. Managers of a construction project, for example, may have a duty to ensure their employees and contractors understand Virginia and industry safety regulations. If they do not adhere to this duty, the managers may be considered “negligent” and the company held liable. On the road, drivers must fulfill a duty to adhere to driving laws. When they do not do so, they breach this duty and may be considered the at-fault, negligent party should their actions result in an accident.

Fault by Scenario

What does all this mean for a construction accident? When personal injury lawyers perform their investigation of the accident details, they trace the evidence to identify who is more likely to have been negligent and therefore liable. Liability can change drastically based on one or two simple details. Take the following scenarios, for example:

Scenario 1

A property owner doesn’t adequately maintain a safe environment for a construction company they have hired for a remodel job. Consequently, a worker becomes injured as a direct result of this unsafe environment—unrelated to their job duties. In this case, the property owner is at fault for the accident. Therefore, the construction worker will need to make a claim with the property owner’s appropriate insurance company and, if necessary, take them to court. This is what’s known as a third-party claim.

Scenario 2

A worker performing their job-related duties becomes injured without any visible signs of negligence or fault on their part or the part of a third-party. After seeking medical attention, the worker should submit a written notice of the incident to their employer as soon as possible (under 30 days). They should then contact an attorney and file a workers’ comp claim through their employer’s workers’ comp insurance company. Note that your classification may affect your ability to make a claim. The workers’ compensation lawyer you consult with can better help you understand your options for damage recovery.

Scenario 3

A subcontractor is hired for a construction job. While performing their duties alongside a full-time employee of the construction company, the subcontractor leaves machinery running and goes off to perform another task. Then, the full-time employee, unaware that the machinery is on, subsequently injures themselves. In this case, the subcontractor is at fault and their representing agency or insurer will need to compensate for the accident. In cases like these, the full-time employee may first make a workers’ comp claim and then the workers’ comp insurer may then follow up with the subcontractor’s representative with their own claim.

Start Your Case Today with a Free Consultation from Geoff McDonald & Associates

As you can see, there are a lot of details that make a difference in whether a person may make a construction accident claim and where they must go to seek compensation. If you were injured in a construction accident, connect with our office today for a free consultation to better understand your options moving forward.


Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


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