When an accident occurs at a work site such as a construction zone, there are likely some unique factors that determine who can and cannot be named in a liability suit. Depending on who owns the property, who manages the workforce, and who committed negligent acts, the person who will be the name defendant in the case might not be immediately obvious. It would be wise to contact a knowledgeable construction site accident attorney to help you understand the role of third parties in Alpharetta construction claims.
What Role Does the Property Owner Play in a Construction Accident Case?
If a property owner is out of possession and not in control of a property under construction, they are rarely found to be liable for the accident occurring on the property. However, if a property owner also serves in the role of a general contractor in control of a construction site, that means they have a duty to ensure the safety of workers, including any subcontractors that they have hired
The liability depends on whether or not the property owner is doing general contracting work on the property for the benefit of a third party. For example, if an owner or developer is serving as the general contractor of the house, but the house was pre-sold to a third party, then the general contractor/owner cannot be held liable for injuries to their subcontractors in most instances.
Third-Party Liability is Rare
Third-party liability is more likely to be found in negligent security claims. For construction site accidents, third parties are usually somebody who cannot be sued, but it is not typically a bad thing for a case. In construction site litigation, when there is a third party who contributed to an injury whom the plaintiff did not sue, it is only because of workers’ compensation immunity or the workers’ compensation bar. The defendant typically uses third parties as a way to reduce their fault.
The Influence of Third-Party Liability
A statute in Georgia allows a defendant to file a notice of non-party fault in a case. That notice can name third-party actors that have not been sued by the plaintiff and that the defendant believes are at fault for the injury in some way. Parties that cannot be sued by the plaintiff due to the workers’ compensation bar can still be named as non-parties by a defendant in a premises liability case.
Ultimately, the defendant has the responsibility to establish the fault of the third party or the non-party they named at trial. If they do so, the jury is permitted to apportion fault to the defendant and the non-parties that are included on the verdict form. After a verdict is reached, the judge assigns fault according to the jury’s instructions, and the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault allocated to non-parties. In this way, third parties can play a major role in Alpharetta construction accident claims despite not being named by the plaintiff.
What is an Example of Third-Party Liability Occurring at a Construction Site?
When a general contractor’s employee engages in an action that injures a subcontractor, that employee (a third party) cannot be sued under state law. It is not generally relevant to the construction world because sometimes third-party actors are at fault. However, the problem is that a plaintiff cannot go after them, and that decreases their ability to recover damages.
Confer with an Attorney About Third Parties in Alpharetta Construction Accident Claims
Any personal injury claim can be confusing to navigate, especially if you are trying to recover from severe injuries. The added complexity of liability in construction sites, as well as the workers’ compensation immunity, means that it can be almost impossible to manage a lawsuit of that type. Work with one of our lawyers to identify possible third parties in Alpharetta construction accident claims. Call now for a free consultation.