Construction site accidents are not uncommon in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 150,000 injuries from such accidents each year. We tend to think of construction workers as being the victims of construction site injuries but bystanders can be hurt as well. What kind of legal protections exist for non-workers who happen to be injured at or near construction sites?
Consider the types of accidents that can take place. Construction involves heavy machinery, hardware, tools, and the use of high amounts of electricity, heat, and other elements. The potential for accidents is always present, and the more serious the construction, the more hazardous the work site. Some examples of construction site accidents that a Georgia personal injury attorney often sees include:
- Collapsing Scaffolding
- Fires, explosions, and burns
- Beams and materials left in pedestrian walkways
- Electrocution and electric shocks from exposed wires
- Machinery malfunctions
- Falling objects
These and other accidents can affect not only the workers, but also pedestrians and other individuals passing by construction sites. Such sites are required to be properly secured, inspected, and set apart from other areas. We’re all familiar with the orange signs, cones and physical barricades which warn bystanders of nearby danger. Other regulations require that certain procedures be observed to protect workers and non-workers alike. At the heart of all the rules that govern construction is an awareness of the danger posed by this work.
The individuals and organizations responsible for safety can sometimes be negligent in fulfilling their duties to workers and the public. A variety of parties could potentially be held partially or completely liable in the event of a construction site accident. The parties that could arise in a claim include:
Construction site owners. The actual owners of the property are ultimately responsible for maintaining a safe working environment. If the owner knows of a safety violation and fails to take corrective action, he or she could be liable.
General contractors and subcontractors. The companies that carry out the actual construction are responsible for ensuring their workers observe all rules and regulations. These rules are designed in part to protect non-workers who approach or are near the site.
Architects and engineers. These individuals are responsible for the design, build and approach to the construction project. A flaw or miscalculation can cause structural collapse during the course of the work, hurting or killing bystanders.
Machinery and equipment manufacturers. Companies that make the machines, tools, and equipment used on sites have an obligation to avoid design flaws and defects. As an example, a crane that falls and kills a pedestrian could be the result of a manufacturing defect.
Insurers. The parties responsible for providing insurance coverage, in a variety of forms, could be required to pay compensation.
After an accident, the first thing a bystander should do is seek the medical attention he or she needs. The next goal will be to figure out what happened and who is responsible. Here, the accident victim and his or her attorney should gather as much information as possible. Eyewitness statements, photographs, and other records will prove useful during this stage. It would be wise to turn to an experienced Georgia accident attorney to help investigate and take legal action.
A GEORGIA ACCIDENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP GET THE COMPENSATION YOU NEED
If you have been hurt by being in the vicinity of a construction site, you could be entitled to compensation. While workers’ compensation provides relief to the injured workers, this coverage does not apply to innocent bystanders. You need an experienced Georgia accident attorney at Schneider Hammers to fight for your legal rights after an accident. Give us a call today to discuss your case.