When most people think of the term “personal injury accident,” they immediately think of a car accident. Car accidents certainly do fall within the definition of a personal injury accident; but many other types of accidents can also be considered a personal injury accident, such as a construction accident. By the very nature of the type of work done by workers in the construction industry, both workers and innocent bystanders are often injured in construction accidents.
If you have been injured in a Yakima area construction accident, you may be entitled to compensation for those injuries.
Laws Relating to the Construction Industry
The construction industry as a whole is subject to a wide variety of federal and state laws that are intended to make construction sites safe for both the workers and the general public. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is responsible for implementing and overseeing many of the laws relating to the construction industry, and work places in general, across the country. There are many laws that apply universally to all types of construction work; however, there are also numerous specific laws and regulations that apply only to certain types of work within the construction industry. An employer is responsible for understanding all of the applicable laws and making sure that they are adhered to at all construction sites.
Along with basic safety laws, many trades within the construction industry require special licensing for the workers within the trade. An electrician, for example, must be licensed. A crane operator must have a specific license to operate a crane. A driver who will be driving a commercial vehicle is also required to hold a commercial driver’s license. When any of these laws or regulations are violated, it puts both workers and the general public at risk of serious injuries or even death.
Who Is Responsible If You Are Injured In a Construction Accident?
If you are an employee, and you are injured in a workplace construction accident, the Washington State workers’ compensation system will typically handle compensation for any injuries you suffered. If, however, you were an innocent bystander who was injured as the result of a Yakima-area construction accident, the construction company that employed the worker involved in the accident may be held liable for your injuries.
Imagine, for example, a common construction accident scenario. A construction company is building a commercial structure in the downtown area. The area where the building is being erected is tight, requiring the use of a crane to move materials. The crane operator drops a load of heavy steel beams, which then crashes into a neighboring building on the way down. You are injured as you walk by the construction site just as the crane drops the load. In this scenario, the crane operator, the company he or she worked for, and even the manufacturer of the crane could potentially be liable for your injuries.
A construction company is responsible for hiring and training employees that will be working in the construction industry. If specific skills or licenses are required, the company is responsible for ensuring that the employee has those skills or the necessary license. In addition, the company is responsible for safely maintaining the equipment it uses. If the crane used in the above scenario was defective, the manufacturer could be held liable. If the crane was rented, the rental company could also be found negligent if it was not properly serviced.
A Yakima-area personal injury accident attorney can evaluate your construction accident case and determine if someone else was liable and if you are potentially entitled to compensation for your injuries. If you have been involved in a construction accident in the Yakima area, contact the personal injury accident attorneys at The Mariano Morales Law as soon as possible to ensure that you receive all of the compensation you are due as a result of the injuries you have suffered.