Louisiana Construction Site Accidents
Construction site accidents can often be catastrophic resulting in severe injuries and fatalities. A tragic example is the partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans in October 2019. Three people died and many others were injured.
Victims of Louisiana construction site accidents are entitled to sue those who were negligent to obtain compensation for their injuries and damage to property. Victims can recover money damages for medical bills, lost wages/earnings, pain and suffering, disfigurement and more. However, construction site accidents are legally complex. For example, if the accident victim is an employee or a worker at the site, then Louisiana’s workers compensation may be the only option for recovery of compensation. This is why it is essential to retain tested and proven Louisiana personal injury attorneys to handle your case.
Non-worker victims of Louisiana construction site accidents can seek recovery against any and all persons or businesses who might have been at fault — partially or fully — for the accident. A building being constructed will often have dozens of contractors and subcontractors doing work. Any one of them may have some blame for the accident. Examples include those who are doing excavation, building and maintaining scaffolding, those operating cranes, hoists and other heavy machinery, those pouring concrete, setting foundations, installing windows, and more.
Under Louisiana law, to obtain compensation for injuries and property damage, an accident victim must demonstrate that the wrongdoers committed negligence. In general, to prove negligence, four legal elements must be shown: duty, breach of duty, causation, and injury/damage. With respect to construction sites, all contractors and subcontractors have a duty of care that requires them to provide appropriate safety measures for their employees and for third-parties that might be visiting or be adjacent to the construction site. Failure to maintain proper and appropriate safety measures is a breach of that duty which can create legal liability.
Contractors and subcontractors also have a legal duty to hire and train competent and experienced workers and machine operators. Failure to satisfy this legal duty can lead to a claim for negligent hiring and/or training. A related cause of action might be one for negligent supervision of employees and workers.
Likewise, contractors and subcontractors are required to use the proper and safe materials and construction techniques to ensure the safety of the building. This is the main claim related to the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel — that the workmanship and materials used did not meet industry and governmental standards. Failure to satisfy the relevant standards is a breach of duty which can lead to legal liability.
Similar types of duties apply to owners of the property and to others involved in the construction such as architects and engineers. Here in Louisiana, property owners have a duty to keep their property free from hazardous conditions. By definition, a building that is unsafe is a hazardous condition and, as such, the owners may be liable when there is a construction site accident. As for architects and engineers, they can be sued under many possible legal theories including negligent and/or defective designs, failure to supervise construction and allowance of improper materials and/or methods.
Experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyers are needed for such cases. Aside from the complex legal theories, proven attorneys know that all potential at-fault parties must be brought into the case. Louisiana is a “comparative fault” state where jury awards are apportioned by percentages among those that are found to be responsible. Full recovery for the victims requires that all wrongdoers must be identified and brought into the case. There are also strict time deadlines that must be met.
Mansfield Melancon Attorneys can Help
If you have been injured in a Louisiana construction site or other type of accident, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have proven experience with many types of personal injury cases. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.