When a construction accident occurs, it is not uncommon for multiple parties to be partially at fault for the incident. Texas law allows you to pursue compensation from each of these entities, whether they are your direct employer or not, based on the percentage of fault they share for your injuries.
How Do I Determine Who Is At-Fault for My Construction Injury?
Because a construction site will generally have several different contractors and employers on site at any given time, it can sometimes be difficult to determine who is liable for your injuries. In some situations, multiple entities may be at fault for an accident and your injuries, resulting in a case of shared liability. This is why it is a good idea to get in contact with an experienced construction accident attorney. Not only can an attorney help identify all the entities responsible for you accident and injuries, they can also help you recover compensation from the entities even if your employer has already begun paying out workers’ compensation.
Some instances in which liability may go beyond your employer are:
- A commercial vehicle operator striking scaffolding, causing fall injuries.
- Electrocution that occurred at an apartment complex with poorly maintained wires.
- Injuries caused by a construction worker being exposed to asbestos at a job site.
- Injuries caused by a defective piece of machinery or equipment.
- Injuries caused by a co-worker who acted negligently while under the influence of a narcotic or alcohol.
How Does Shared Liability Work in a Texas Construction Accident?
When establishing fault in Texas, it is important to remember that Texas uses a modified comparative fault standard when apportioning fault and awarding damages. This is often referred to as “proportionate responsibility.”
Under this standard, the amount of damages a party is responsible for is proportionate to the percentage of fault they carry for an accident or injury. For example, if a scaffolding company is determined to be 70% responsible for your injuries and your employer 30% responsible, the actual damages awarded would be split 70/30 between the scaffolding company and your employer, respectively.
Proportionate responsibility also means that if you are found partly responsible for you injuries, the damages awarded to you could be reduced. For example, if you were ignoring proper safety procedures when the accident occurred, the court could determine that you were 30% at fault for the accident and therefore 30% at fault for your injuries. As such, if you were awarded $10,000 in damages, you would only be able to recover 70% of that amount or $7,000.
Additionally, Texas follows the 51% bar rule. This means that you may not collect damages for injuries if you are determined to be 51% or more at fault for your injuries.
If you have been involved in a construction accident, those responsible for your injuries will try to shift blame onto you in an attempt to limit their own liability. Consulting with an attorney prior to communicating with those responsible for your accident can help protect your rights and claim to compensation.
How Will an Attorney Help Me Determine Fault?
In addition to reviewing the evidence and facts of your case, Thomas J. Henry will employ an array of experts who are able to provide expert reports and testimony on how your accident occurred and who is at fault.
Finding the right expert for your unique situation is crucial in achieving positive results. As such, Thomas J. Henry has spent years finding and building professional relationships with the best expert witnesses from across the country. Each witness undergoes a thorough examination and questioning process before ever taking part in any aspect of a case. In a construction accident lawsuit, we may employ the services of the following experts:
- Workplace safety compliance experts
- Industrial accident reconstruction experts
- Premises maintenance experts
- OSHA consultants
- Safety equipment experts
- Ladder experts
- Occupational and environmental health experts
- Hazardous chemicals experts
- Process safety management experts
- Physicians, psychical therapists, and other healthcare professionals
- Fire and explosion investigators
Expert witnesses can provide detailed information regarding your construction site injury. Our construction job injury lawyers are always looking for intuitive ways to use experts in construction accident cases.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Involved in a Construction Accident?
The aftermath of a construction accident can seem overwhelming – you have likely sustained a serious injuries along with severe pain and uncertainty, but you have options. By following these simple steps, you can put yourself in a better position to achieve physical and financial recovery.
- Seek medical attention immediately
- File a report with your employer as soon as possible and receive copies of all documentation
- If possible, take photographs of the work site and any tools or equipment involved in the accident
- Collect names and contact information of witnesses to the accident, including coworkers and bystanders
- Document any changes in your health due to the construction accident as well as any visits with a doctor
- Contact an experienced construction injury attorney
You will likely be approached by your employer and insurance companies who will attempt to have you sign away your rights as an injured worker. Do not sign any documents or provide any written or recorded statements until you have consulted with an attorney.