Construction sites are inherently dangerous places. There are heavy objects, sharp tools, and electrical equipment everywhere. Construction workers are also at risk of falling from heights or being hit by falling debris.
Despite these dangers, most construction workers go about their workday without any incidents. But accidents do happen, and when they do, the workers and their families are often left to deal with the consequences. Proving negligence in a construction lawsuit can be a challenge. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction accident, contact a reputed law firm, such as Finkelstein & Partners, LLP, to know your legal options.
What is Negligence in a Construction Lawsuit?
The legal doctrine of negligence is frequently applied in construction litigation. It is described as the inability to use reasonable care, which is the level of caution that a prudent person would exercise in the same circumstance. Negligence comes in two forms: aggressive and passive. When someone actively causes harm, this is known as active negligence. For example, operating a power saw without the required safety gear. When someone does not take action that they should have taken to prevent harm, such as failing to check a power saw for flaws before using it, this is known as passive negligence.
Challenges of Proving Negligence
The law of negligence is based on the premise that people should take reasonable care to avoid harming others. If they fail to do so and someone is injured as a result, they may be held liable for damages. However, proving negligence can be a challenge. The courts will consider factors such as the nature of the activity, the level of skill or expertise required, and the risks involved. The following are some challenges in proving negligence in construction lawsuits;
Number of Parties
There is usually more than one party involved in construction projects. This is where the first challenge arises, as the plaintiff doesn’t know who is responsible for the accident. Although all the partners should be held equally responsible, there are several cases where proving negligence proved difficult, as each partner blamed the other one.
Lack of Evidence
Even if the plaintiff can identify the negligent party, a lack of evidence makes it tricky to prove negligence. There are hundreds of people working on construction sites which makes it extremely difficult to preserve evidence. Lack of physical evidence is a prime reason why many such cases don’t have a favorable outcome for the plaintiff. Moreover, there can be reluctance on the part of eyewitnesses, as the fear of losing their job might compel them to stay silent.
Statute of Limitations
The biggest challenge is usually the Statute of Limitations. This is the deadline for filing a lawsuit, and if you miss it, you will likely be barred from bringing a claim. In some jurisdictions, the Statute of Limitations is as short as one year from the date of the accident. This means that if you were injured in a construction accident, you would have to file a lawsuit within one year of the date of the accident.
Following a construction accident, it’s important for you to seek medical attention and then contact a relevant lawyer. Remember, any delays can also weaken your case, so be sure to hire an attorney as soon as possible following a construction injury.