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When a building subcontractor causes a construction accident

Construction professionals recognize the safety measures that need to be taken in order to protect themselves on the job. They know that their own employer is required to adhere to regulations and safety guidelines, and there's a reasonable expectation that they will be kept safe while they work each day. However, what happens when an independent subcontractor working on site is negligent and causes an accident that results in injury?

Unfortunately, this is a reality that occurs not only in Denver but also throughout the country. In December 2016, welders caused a fire at an apartment building in the Detroit, Michigan, suburb of Birmingham. According to the Detroit Free Press, welders were working on the top floors of an apartment building in the city when a fire broke out. In this incident, several apartment units were consumed by the flames. While it was fortunate that there were no injuries, the story sheds light on the reality that welders and other subcontractors can cause an incident that leads to accident, illness or death.

Construction workers must be aware of their rights

It's important that Denver construction workers are aware of their rights to sue other subcontractors, in the event of negligence at a construction site. These types of claims are called third-party lawsuits and can be an important way for an injured construction worker to recover full compensation beyond Colorado workers' compensation.

Here are a few facts that you should know about third-party lawsuits:

  • In the event of an incident caused by a subcontractor that results in an injury, the worker is eligible for workers' compensation but can not sue their employer for additional financial damages. The injured worker can partner with a qualified attorney who specializes in workers' compensation law in order to maximize the compensation that they receive as they recover from their injury and are unable to perform their job duties.
  • In addition to receiving the workers' compensation that they both need and deserve, a worker who is injured due to negligence by a subcontractor may also file a third-party lawsuit against the contractor. In this situation, it is best for the injured party to partner with an experienced legal professional who is familiar not only with workers' compensation laws but also personal injury laws in Colorado. Subcontractors should be expected to adhere to reasonable safety guidelines, and they should be certified to work in the field in which they are employed. An under-qualified or inexperienced subcontractor may make a costly mistake -- one that results in an incident that leads to injury or event death.

Another example

In the aftermath of an injury on the job site, it can be chaotic and overwhelming for the injured worker to know what to do next. After you have received your initial treatment at a health care facility, you should then make contact with an attorney who understands your unique situation and can help you fight for your rights.

For example, an April 2014 fire in Boston led to the death of two firefighters. According to ABC News, the fire was sparked by a welder's torch and the high winds fanned the flames, quickly growing the fire. While the fire itself was a mistake, albeit a deadly one, the real issue was the fact that these welders fled from the scene as soon as the fire erupted in the building. The welding professionals did not contact emergency crews, which surely allowed the fire to grow and ultimately ended in a deadly situation for the Boston Fire Department. 

It is moments like these in which subcontractors must be held responsible for their actions. Construction professionals and other workers who must navigate through dangerous job sites should feel confident that all people working on the premises are qualified and taking the proper safety precautions.

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