Construction sites are dangerous and can place the health and lives of workers at considerable risk. Construction managers, forepersons and supervisors are there to ensure that construction projects are carried out in a manner that abides by all safety laws and regulations. When they fail to carry out their duties properly, workers can be hurt or even killed. While workers’ compensation offers an important means of support, accident victims may have the option to also file a personal injury case for supervisor negligence. Have you been hurt on a construction site? Give Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. a call.
The Legal Duties of Site Managers, Forepersons and Supervisors
The various hazards present at any given construction site require careful supervision and observance of the rules and regulations that protect workers. Construction managers, forepersons and supervisors have a legal obligation to make sure that all construction work is done without causing foreseeable harm to workers. Although accidents can happen no matter how careful the employees and conditions are, unreasonable dangers must be avoided.
Unfortunately, not all managers, forepersons and supervisors are as diligent as they should be. Negligent supervision is a type of claim in which an injured worker argues that the managers, forepersons and supervisors failed to properly monitor the construction site, its workers, its equipment, or other aspects of the job, thereby resulting in an accident. It is a type of personal injury matter that is separate from workers’ compensation, the latter of which does not require a showing of employer negligence.
How Does Construction Manager, Foreperson or Supervisor Negligence Cause Accidents?
When a construction worker is injured and wishes to pursue a negligence lawsuit, that individual, in most cases, has the obligation of proving that the construction manager, foreperson or supervisor was somehow negligent in executing his or her duties. These are a few of the most common examples of facts that support supervisor negligence claims:
Disregarding safety rules. The New York Labor Law provides specific protections for construction workers in three critical sections:
- Section 200. This requires construction worksites to be equipped, arranged, and operated so as to provide reasonable and adequate protection to employees. Also, any construction machinery or equipment on the site must be used in a manner that protects workers.
- Section 240. Known as the Scaffolding or Scaffold Law, Section 240 contains several safety regulations that apply to scaffolding or staging. For example, the absence of a bolted safety rail could violate this rule. Under sections of this statute, all that need be shown is failure to comply with its requirements; proof of negligence is NOT required.
- Section 241. Workers engaged in construction, demolition, and excavation work must have proper protection and safety equipment when performing their tasks. Subsection 6 provides a number of specific rules that injured workers can use.
Failure to enforce rules. A closely related problem occurs when a construction manager, foreperson or supervisor is aware of employees violating various construction site safety rules but does nothing to stop it. This failure to enforce is especially insidious because it can foster a dangerous workplace culture that puts numerous workers at risk.
Financial pressures. Anyone who has ever worked on a construction site knows that projects can go over budget and take longer than originally estimated. There is constant pressure to finish the job as soon as possible to minimize losses and maximize profits. But this creates an incentive to be careless and disregard the safety of workers.
Failure to correct known dangers. If a manager, foreperson or supervisor knows, or should reasonably know, that a hazard exists on the site, steps must be taken to fix the problem and protect workers in the meantime. For instance, a piece of machinery may be known to have a defect. If the supervisor allows it to be used, he or she can be held liable.
Drug or alcohol use. Obviously, supervisors should not show up to a construction site under the influence of anything that can impair their judgment. This includes intoxication due to alcohol or illegal drug use, but it can even include impairment caused by prescription medication.
Making a Case For Manager, Foreperson or Supervisor Negligence
Workers’ compensation generally exists to protect employees by giving them the right to seek certain forms of monetary compensation without having to prove negligence. In exchange, lawsuits against employers are generally barred. However, claims against responsible others, for losses in addition to workers’ compensation, are not barred. Such additional losses include compensation for pain, suffering and resulting disability.
There are several elements that an injured construction worker must show before being able to proceed with a personal injury claim. They are:
Duty. The injured worker must show that the manager, foreman or supervisor owed the victim a duty of care. Legally, supervisors are required to look after the safety of construction site workers by ensuring compliance with relevant rules and regulations.
Breach. A breach of duty happens when the manager, foreman or supervisor, by some act or omission, fails to exercise the duty of care. Each of the above-mentioned examples of how negligence happens could form the basis for arguing that a breach occurred.
Causation. The breach must have actually been an important factor in causing the victim’s injuries.
Damages. Finally, the accident victim has to demonstrate the nature and degree of his or her damages. Some examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Wrongful death damages, if the victim dies
Contact Our New York Manager, Foreperson And Supervisor Negligence Attorney
Maintaining a manager, foreperson or supervisor lawsuit is not without its challenges. It will be critical to have experienced legal counsel that understands how to make these personal injury claims and how to demand a sum of money that adequately compensates the victim for his or her losses. Injured New York construction workers know they have a trusted ally in Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. If you were hurt because of an irresponsible construction job supervisor, connect with us today.