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When Might a General Contractor be Liable for a Construction Accident Injury?

shaking hands in trailer on construction siteYou cannot sue an employer over a workplace injury, but sometimes it is possible to file a lawsuit against a third party, such as a contractor.

Below, learn more about when a general contractor could be held liable for a construction accident. 

What General Contractors Do

A general contractor is typically hired by a property owner or a construction company to oversee the completion of a project or to perform a specific duty related to a construction project. General contractors often supply the manpower, materials, equipment, and services to complete almost any type of project for a client.

The general contractor hired for a project usually applies for and secures the required permits and licenses necessary to operate legally. If subcontractors are needed, the general contractor will be able to bring these specialists on board. Subcontractors include HVAC techs, plumbers, roofers, electricians, painters, and sheetrock workers.

General Contractor Liability

For the most part, a general contractor is responsible for the work completed or not completed by a subcontractor. Should the general contractor retain control over all work performed at the construction site, he or she could be held liable for an accident that occurs on that site.

A general contractor can also face liability if the subcontractor they hire has a poor track record, does not have the proper license to operate in California, or the general contractor did not do a proper background check. If the general contractor knew about safety issues with the subcontractor and still hired them, they could be held liable for any accidents that result from the subcontractors’ work.

Generally, construction accident victims must prove the following to hold a general contractor liable for injuries suffered in a construction accident:

  • The general contractor had a duty to act reasonably to help protect the victim’s safety.
  • The legal duty to protect the victim’s safety was not met by the general contractor.
  • The injury suffered by the victim was directly caused by the failure of the general contractor to meet the legal duty.

Failing to meet a legal duty could include things like violating safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or violating other industry safety standards set by the state of California.

Dangerous Work

A general contractor could be held liable for injuries suffered in a construction accident when the work is inherently dangerous if the following has been proven:

  • There is a special danger present in the work being performed.
  • The general contractor knew that the danger was inherent.
  • If proper precautions are not taken, injuries are likely to occur.

The general contractor can be held liable if he or she fails to minimize the risk to subcontractors, laborers, or others in or around the construction site when the work is known to be inherently dangerous.

Negligent Instructions

It’s not uncommon for a general contractor to be held liable in a construction accident case because he or she failed to give proper instructions to laborers or subcontractors or failed to give any instructions. The failure to provide proper instructions or any instructions at all can easily lead to a construction accident and injuries.

Contact Berry, Smith & Bartell Today

If you or a loved one was injured working on a construction site and you believe the general contractor or the subcontractors who they hired may be liable, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney.

The Fresno construction accident lawyers from Berry, Smith & Bartell may be able to help you. Schedule a free case review today to learn more.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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