One of Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries opens with a fluffy old lady strolling through a new subdivision development. In the story, the detective passes by one of the two-story homes under construction and spies a young couple standing on the second story of an unfinished house. The couple is standing on a piece of wood that extends over the edge of the building frame. As the young lady steps forward and loses her balance, the young man steps backwards off the board and the lady nearly falls. The detective concludes that the young lady would be well served to find herself a new young man. This is also an excellent example of the very inviting atmosphere of subdivision developments under construction – any number of homes going up in any number of cul-de-sacs, all of varying designs and in various stages of finish. Dirt movers and cranes and dump trucks call to the child in many of us to take a closer look. Couples looking for a family home or retirees looking to downsize are all likely to be driving through and may stop to take a closer look at some particular land feature or lot. And since it is imperative for the builder of the homes to sell the homes, large signs advertising these forthcoming homes and neighborhood amenities are placed very conspicuously and are bright and colorful and inviting as well.
The owners of the property, the developers, and the contractors performing the work should be held to the highest standards when undertaking any construction project. Most counties and/or cities have permitting requirements before construction projects can be undertaken and those permits frequently set the minimum requirements for safety measures to be used while construction is underway. Developers and contractors may open themselves up to extensive liability if they fail to meet these minimum requirements. And while the minimum requirements may satisfy some exposure to liability, contractors may have additional liability if they allow unreasonably dangerous conditions to remain accessible to the public. In the earlier example, a personal injury attorney would look at the permits in place and the conditions of the site at the time of injury. Who left the board extending beyond the frame of the house? Who failed to post the “keep-out” notice, if any such notice was required? Who failed to close and lock the fence around the unfinished project? And once those questions are answered, others will follow – does the contractor have a history of allowing dangerous work sites. Was the developer or contractor trying to cut corners to increase profits? All of these questions and many others will need to be asked. Liability at a construction site can be difficult to pin down and an attorney experienced in these types of injuries, like a construction accident lawyer Boynton Beach FL relies on, will spend a significant amount of time in determining the activities and events that led to someone being injured as well as the potential liability of each party – from the land owner, to the developer, to the contractor.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Eric H. Luckman, P.C. for their insight into construction accidents.