Construction zone accidents can be deadly for all involved. Construction is an inherently dangerous industry for workers in the U.S. There are certain mistakes and wrongful acts, however, that can increase the risk of a construction zone accident. Determining who is liable, or financially responsible, for a construction accident in Texas takes an investigation into who or what caused the accident and injury.
Construction companies have a legal responsibility to provide safe and productive work environments for their employees, as well as to maintain safe premises for the public who must walk or drive through active construction zones in Texas. Construction companies must take reasonable steps to keep construction sites safe, such as:
- Hiring qualified and licensed workers
- Properly training construction workers
- Providing the required safety equipment
- Inspecting the site for hazards or issues
- Warning workers and visitors of known defects
- Keeping equipment out of the road
- Providing safe detours for drivers
- Posting warning signs leading up to construction zones
If a construction company falls short of any of these responsibilities, it could be held responsible for a related workplace accident or construction zone crash. A construction company may also be held vicariously liable for the mistakes of its workers. Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine in Texas that applies to employers and holds them responsible for the negligence of their employees. Negligence in personal injury law is the failure to act with proper or reasonable care.
A construction worker could make many mistakes while on the job that ultimately lead to construction zone accidents. A worker may fail to properly secure tools when working from a scaffold, for example, resulting in a hammer being dropped on a passerby below. If a construction worker is at fault for an injury or death, this will most likely lead to vicarious liability being placed on the construction company. If the individual was an independent contractor or subcontractor, however, the worker may be personally liable.
Motor Vehicle Driver
Some construction zone accidents are caused by negligent motor vehicle drivers. If a motor vehicle driver was texting and driving or speeding through a construction zone, for example, he or she could be held liable for a related collision. All motor vehicle drivers in Texas must carry minimum amounts of liability insurance to pay for the accidents and injuries that they cause.
Every year, faulty and defective pieces of construction equipment cause construction worker injuries and deaths. Common examples include crane collapses, missing machine guards and malfunctioning power tools. If an investigation uncovers a dangerous defect with a piece of equipment in connection to a construction worker injury, the manufacturer or distributor of the equipment could be held liable with a product liability claim.
When a construction zone exists on private property, the property owner has a legal responsibility to ensure the reasonable safety of the premises. The owner must disclose any known hazards that may injure construction workers, for example. If a property owner is negligent in the care or maintenance of the premises, he or she could be held liable for a related worker injury.
Comparative Negligence Law in Texas
If the injured victim who is filing the construction zone accident claim is found partially responsible for the accident, he or she could still recover compensation. Texas uses a modified comparative negligence law, meaning that as long as the injured person is less responsible for the accident than the defendant, he or she can still recover partial financial compensation.
Speak to an Attorney After a Construction Zone Accident in Texas
If you get injured in a construction zone accident in Texas, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights. Determining liability may take an in-depth investigation into the incident. A lawyer can help you file a claim against one or more parties in pursuit of fair financial compensation for your losses.