Each year, thousands of individuals make claims for personal injuries as the result of construction site accidents. Whether a claim involves an alleged injury involving the use of scaffolding, heavy equipment, power tools, ladders, or cranes, construction site injury cases have peculiarities that require specific legal knowledge. The attorneys at MacArthur, MacArthur & Associates, P.C. have the experience and skill to provide you with an aggressive defense to any construction site injury claim.
In construction site injury cases, plaintiffs may sue the site landowners, developers, construction managers, design and engineering professionals, general contractors, prime contractors, subcontractors, or equipment and material suppliers. In Michigan, the common law has traditionally recognized a general rule that a principal who employs a contractor for a construction project is not liable for personal injuries or death caused by acts or omissions of the contractor or the contractor’s employees.
Owners, developers, construction managers, general contractors, and prime contractors have all been held to be principals, depending on the situation. Design and engineering professionals have also, under certain circumstances, been deemed co-principals or vice principals.
Despite the general rule of non-liability for principals, the Michigan courts have recognized numerous exceptions to the general rule of non-liability. Exceptions include situations in which a principal’s own negligence was a proximate cause of the injury, as well as when the principal was negligent in selecting a site, failed to exercise reasonable care to employ a competent and careful contractor to do certain types of work, or failed to provide safe tools or equipment. Exceptions have also been recognized when a general contractor or landowner effectively retained control over performance of inherently dangerous work, and when the work was likely to involve trespass or nuisance. The courts have recognized other exceptions as well.
Whether an exception to the general rule of non-liability applies or an entity is not deemed to be a principal, plaintiffs must prove the traditional elements of duty and duty breached. The standard of care for a given defendant will vary considerably based on the nature of the defendant’s work, their contractual obligations, and governing statutes and regulations, including the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Plaintiffs must prove that the breach of duty was the cause in fact and proximate cause of their injuries. Documenting cause can be an extraordinary challenge when there are multiple entities involved on a construction site. Construction site injury claims commonly involve issues with the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act, the statutes of limitations and repose, and indemnification contracts and clauses, as well as governmental immunity.
Our personal injury defense lawyers at MacArthur, MacArthur & Associates help you navigate the numerous complexities of a construction site accident claim and develop the best defenses to mitigate liability. From our offices in Metro-Detroit, Lansing, and Gaylord, we provide legal services to businesses throughout Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas. We invite you to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your construction site injury defense needs with us.