Virginia Construction Site Injury Lawyers

When accidents occur at construction sites, they are often serious or fatal. With a construction boom underway in cities like Norfolk and Virginia Beach, we have seen an increase in accidents at construction sites in recent years.

Construction Site Accidents

Virginia Beach and Norfolk have recently witnessed the approval of large, commercial development projects.  In Virginia Beach, the historic Cavalier Hotel is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation.  Similarly, a state-of-the-art Hilton Hotel is currently being built in the heart of downtown Norfolk.  One major similarity in the two construction projects is their proximity to the general public.  The Cavalier Hotel construction is adjacent to the Virginia Beach boardwalk, and the Norfolk Hilton Hotel is being built at the heavily trafficked corner of Main Street and Granby Street.  Both hotels will be terrific additions to their respective cities.  However, during construction, they present the risk of injury to the general public and workers alike.

In the winter of 2016, a terrible crane accident in New York City highlighted the potential dangers of construction sites that are close to public streets. A massive crane crashed to the ground, killing a pedestrian and injuring three people who were hit by debris.

By their very nature, construction sites are dangerous places for workers and the general public.  Heavy machinery on construction sites creates hazardous conditions if employees are not properly trained on the correct usage, operate it in an unauthorized manner or if the machinery malfunctions.  Falling debris during the demolition phase of construction is an equally dangerous condition on site.  Injuries people suffer at construction sites are normally quite catastrophic and can require extended hospital stays, multiple surgeries and long-term medical care.

The investigation into a construction site accident differs depending on whether the injured person was a worker or a member of the general public.

Construction Site Accidents Involving the General Public

A member of the public who is injured on or near a construction site may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the company overseeing the construction.  A general contractor has a duty to protect the public from the known hazards inherent in commercial construction.  For example, if a general contracting company in charge of an entire construction site fails to provide adequate warnings or does not limit access to a dangerous location, a person injured due to those errors may pursue a claim against the company.  General contractors are also responsible for ensuring that all applicable safety regulations are complied with.  If a safety measure is not followed and results in a person being injured, the general contractor may be held legally liable.

A subcontractor is legally responsible for the job-related actions of its employees.  Subcontractors have a legal duty to properly train its employees and ensure that their work is being conducted safely.  If a construction worker acts negligently in the performance of his duties, and a member of the general public is hurt, a claim can be made against the subcontractor and the negligent worker.

Construction Site Accidents Involving Workers

Workers who are injured on site have a right to seek worker’s compensation from their employer.  Normally, worker’s compensation is the only manner in which an injured worker can receive compensation for his injuries.  However, in certain circumstances, a worker may also pursue a third-party claim against another individual whose personal negligence was a direct cause of the worker’s injuries. 

Falls cause many accidents on construction sites. In 2013, for example, of 800 deaths in the construction industry, 291 were caused by falls, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Scaffolding is notorious for collapsing. If scaffolding gives way, workers may have grounds to sue a negligent party or even a manufacturer if there was a defect.

Third-party claims can be difficult to identify.  They exist when a worker is injured through the negligent action of someone other than a co-worker or in a manner that is not inherent to their job duties.  The legal definition of a co-worker is proscribed by statute and requires a complicated analysis of the facts surrounding the accident.  In addition, previous cases decided by Virginia courts have described which sorts of tasks are inherent to employment and which are not.

Why you need a lawyer 

If you’ve been injured in a construction site accident, you need an experienced legal team to assist you in pursuit of fair compensation.  Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers’ premises liability lawyers, Bill O’Mara and Griffin O’Hanlon, can investigate your claim and help you advance your claim against the construction company.  Contact Bill and Griff at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.