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Who’s At Fault on a Construction Accident?

Construction jobs are naturally dangerous. Construction sites are intentionally underdeveloped, with exposed wiring and pipes with purpose of being fixed by the employees. This means that there are different safety duties and expectations for both the employees and the the employer.

Take for example the case of Capuano v. Tishman Construction Corporation. In this case Philip and Danielle Capuano sued Philip’s employer, Tishman Construction Corporation (Tishman), for injuries he received while at work. Philip Capuano (Philip) tripped over a piece of pipe on the floor in his work area, that was left there by other workers. He claims that the area did not have adequate lighting, and the lack of light caused him to not notice the pipe and therefore trip over it.

In this case, labor laws and rules of the Industrial Code apply. Philip is suing his employer for violating two sections of the Industrial Code. The first section requires that the work area be kept free from accumulations of dirt and debris and from scattered tools and materials. Philip claims this rule was violated by the piece of pipe, which was used by someone else and left on the the floor for an unknown period of time, which he later tripped over. There is an exception to this rule for the instances where the items that caused the injury are necessary tools for the employee’s current task. For example, if Philip’s task had been to hammer nails and he later hurt himself by tripping over his hammer, there would be no violation. In this case, however, Philip claims he was working on installing abuse boards which did not involve piping.

The second section under which Philip is suing, requires sufficient lighting in a work area. Philip claims this rule was broken because part of the reason he tripped was because he could not see the pipe on the floor. The area in which Philip was working did not have windows and the only light available, according to Philip, was about twenty feet behind his work area and was not bright enough for him to see the area.

On the first issue, witnesses for Tishman claimed that the site was reviewed by a group of subcontractors throughout the day with the specific job of cleaning up the site as the day goes on. Regarding the second issue, Tishman did not address whether or not enough light was provided on the day of the accident. The witnesses, however, were not on the scene when the accident occurred or within a reasonable amount of time after the accident. Therefore no one could definitely claim the piece of pipe was not on the floor or give any information regarding the lights at the time of the accident. Without plausible, contradictory evidence on behalf of Tishman, the court found that there was a violation of both rules, and the Capuanos won the case.

Litigation is complicated and knowing where to start with a claim may not be obvious. An accident attorney can be a great resource when deciding whether to bring a claim. If you have been injured, you should contact an experienced accident attorney to discuss your options.

See Related Posts:
When Are Property Owners Liable for Injuries on Their Property?
Recent Declines in Construction Site Safety Lead to Injuries and Deaths