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Construction site injuries: who is to blame?

Every worker on a large construction site knows how complicated the daily operation can be. The schedules are always tight, and everyone has a job to do.

With all of the people coming and going through the site, safety becomes both more critical and more difficult. Who is legally responsible when construction workers are injured? The general contractor? The subcontractor? The property owner? No one?

Where do I file a work injury claim?

If you have been injured on a construction site, the first place to start is always with your employer. You must notify your supervisor in timely fashion about the nature of your injury, medical treatment and when you expect to come back to work.

All worker's compensation claims go through your employer, regardless of who may be at fault for the accident. Workers' comp medical and wage benefits should cover you through the immediate period until you can return to working.

If I can't go back work - what then?

If your work-related injuries are more severe and you can't go back to work in a reasonable period of time, you may be entitled to additional workers' compensation benefits for permanent injury or permanent disability. That is when it becomes time to evaluate the entire job site to see who may be at fault for the conditions which caused your injury.

General contractors and subcontractors have a duty to provide safe working conditions. But those entities may have immunity from lawsuits if they are in your chain of employment.

However, if a different subcontractor acted negligently they can be held responsible for your injuries. This also true for the utility company, the property owner or a company that manufacturers machinery or rents scaffolding. Those third parties can be sued for personal injury if you end up with disabling or disfiguring injuries because of their negligence.

It is important to obtain reports of any investigations by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They may provide insight as to who is at fault.

How should I proceed?

After any serious injury on a construction site which puts you out of work for any length of time, it is always wise to consult with an attorney experienced in construction accident claims. The complexities of the site are often reflected in the complexities of determining who is at fault when you are seriously injured.

Construction sites are always dangerous, but that is never an excuse for carelessness or disregard for safety rules. Safety is always the first job. If you have been injured, a lawyer may be able to determine just who failed to do their job properly and pursue compensation from those parties.

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Nusbaum Stein
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66 Sunset Strip
Suite 205
Succasunna, NJ 07876

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