South Carolina construction site accidents: a primer

Construction sites are dangerous places where injury-causing accidents frequently occur.

Construction is one of the most hazardous industries in the nation. Workers on construction sites in South Carolina and across America are regularly hurt or killed on the job; the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that over 20 percent of all workplace fatalities happen on construction sites. This translates to nearly 900 lives lost each year, the majority - nearly 60 percent - of which occur in what safety experts call construction's "Fatal Four":

  • Falls (from ladders or scaffolds, off roofs, down elevator shafts, into trenches, down stairs, etc.)
  • Electrocution
  • Being struck by an object
  • Being caught in, under or between machines, vehicles, walls, trenches, etc.

Of course, there are other hazards on these dangerous job sites as well. Workers can be injured by power tools, trench/wall/crane collapses, when lifting heavy objects, and burned by welding torches or involved in motor vehicle accidents.

Those injured on construction jobs might, depending on the circumstances of their injuries, be able to not only seek workers' compensation benefits from their employer but to also file a third party injury claim against other responsible parties. The difficulty lies in determining who might be liable when there are so many different businesses and individuals involved in these complex projects.

Complex relationships and legal issues

In addition to the hustle, bustle and general orchestrated chaos of a construction site when building is underway, construction projects are legally complicated as well. The owner of the real estate may not be the owner of the actual building under construction, therefore he or she (or a business entity) may have little control over the project and might not be a necessary party to any legal action arising from an accident. There could also be a property manager, tenant or business owner poised to take possession of the property once completed that has more involvement in the day-to-day operations during construction and could be held responsible for negligence that led to an injury or fatality.

Of course, there are also the parties involved in the building itself, which can include a general contractor, construction project manager and numerous subcontractors (everyone from roofers to electricians and plumbers to landscapers could belong to a different company).

If the project is road-related or part of a government development, then various municipalities could also be involved. Should the injury arise from a piece of defective equipment (like a power tool, skid loader, backhoe, crane, forklift, etc.), then claims might also exist against the manufacturer or distributor of that equipment.

One of the most difficult parts of any construction site injury is simply determining who is at fault. That can be done by an experienced personal injury attorney like those at the Charleston law office of Mark C. Tanenbaum, P.A. Call the firm today at (843) 737-6279 or toll free at (866) 320-0354 or send an email to schedule a free consultation to discuss your construction site injury case.