If you have been injured in an accident at a construction site, you likely have many things to deal with—medical bills, recovery, and missed time at work among them. In addition to getting back on your feet, at some point you will need to identify who is responsible for causing your injury and, if circumstances dictate, initiate legal action to recover for what your injury has cost you.
Identifying who might be liable for your injuries will likely require some legal analysis. With all the people, activity, and various companies at a construction site, determining who created the condition or situation that caused your injuries is never simple. While an employer can often be held responsible, people often overlook the role of third parties in construction accidents. Part of the challenge is identifying all the people at the construction site, their employers, the equipment they were using, and what they were doing when you were injured.
An experienced construction accident attorney can help you determine who might be liable for your injuries.
Identifying Potential Third Parties
A third party is anyone besides your employer who was present at the construction site. A third-party claim is a lawsuit against any of those third parties who were partially or fully responsible for your construction injury.
In New Jersey, all employers must contribute to and participate in workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a sort of no-fault insurance for employees who are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is typically limited to reimbursing injured workers for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. If you are covered by workers’ compensation, you cannot sue your employer for your injuries. However, if a third party is at fault for a construction injury, New Jersey law permits a third-party claim against that person or entity responsible.
In construction accidents, third-party defendants in personal injury claims may include:
- The company that manufactured a faulty piece of equipment,
- A subcontractor who did not adhere to standard practices,
- The owner or driver of a truck delivering something, or
- The property owner.
Any third party who had a responsibility to keep the construction site safe but failed to do so can be held responsible if their actions caused injury.
How to Determine Fault in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, to recover compensation for your injuries, you will generally need to prove that someone was negligent. To prove that someone was negligent, you and your construction accident lawyer will need to show:
- They had a duty to make sure things were safe;
- They breached that duty by failing to act like a reasonable person should;
- Their breach caused your injury; and
- Your injury has caused or created damages.
Every construction site accident is unique, as are your injuries. The attorneys at Glugeth & Pierguidi will listen to your story, assess the circumstances of your accident, and identify parties who might be liable. While every construction site is different, a common attribute of all construction sites is that they are bustling with activity. For this reason, there is no formula or blueprint to determine who is liable.
For example, imagine the law requires that the owner of the property post signs of a certain size warning of dangerous conditions. The owner failed to post signs, but you were aware of the condition anyway. While the property owner may be deemed to have violated a regulation, they would not be at fault if you disregarded the danger and suffered injury. But if you were not aware of the condition and suffered injury due to the lack of signs, the owner could be held responsible.
Theories of Recovery in New Jersey
In New Jersey, there are several theories by which an injured person can get compensation for their injury.
- General negligence—if a third party on the construction site failed to use reasonable care and caused you injury, they may be liable;
- Product liability—if you were injured by a tool, piece of equipment, machine, or materials that were defective or unsafe, the manufacturer of the product may be liable; and.
- Premises liability—if the property owner failed to keep the site or the premises safe or failed to warn of hazards on the property, they could be liable.
Your attorney will know the theory or theories of liability most applicable to your case. The attorneys at Glugeth & Pierguidi have decades of experience in the construction accident arena. We know how to identify liability and how to recover the compensation you deserve.
The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney
Your construction accident attorney will help you collect evidence to identify who was there when you were injured and how their actions contributed to your injury. This evidence may include
- Safety reports,
- General contractor records,
- Subcontractor records,
- Eyewitness statements,
- Your medical records, and
- Anything else that might be relevant.
The attorneys will examine the evidence, develop a theory of the case, and apply New Jersey law to that theory. They will then begin strategizing for your lawsuit. They will also communicate with the insurance companies and other lawyers so you can focus on recovering from your injury. Finally, they can represent you at trial if necessary.
Steps to Take After an Accident
After you have gotten the medical attention you need, preserving your rights and getting the compensation you deserve start with the following steps.
Report the Incident
There are so many people visiting and working on a construction site every day. Documenting your injury is important. It creates the basis for any future legal claims. Additionally, there are rules and regulations concerning preserving evidence to which your supervisor and their supervisor must adhere. That’s why it’s essential that you report your accident to your supervisor as soon as possible.
Listen to Your Doctor
Your well-being is always a top priority. Following your doctor’s instructions can also help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Attorney
Again, because of the constant stream of visitors, vendors, subcontractors, and third parties on a construction site, preserving records will be of utmost importance. The experienced and skilled personal injury attorneys at Glugeth & Pierguidi know how to do this. We will need to review timesheets, identify witnesses, interview those witnesses, see lists of deliveries and visitors to the site, review safety manuals, and generally get a snapshot of who was at the construction site and what they were doing at the time of your injury.
Glugeth & Pierguidi Can Help with Your Construction Accident Claim
The aftermath of a construction injury can be overwhelming. But identifying who is at fault and taking steps to hold them accountable is a big step toward being made whole again. A construction accident attorney who will listen to you and who knows New Jersey construction law will make a huge difference in how much and when you recover. Our skilled and seasoned attorneys have decades of experience. We approach every case with empathy for you and an eagerness to hold those at fault accountable. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.