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Who is liable for construction site injuries?

Construction accidents make up the majority of workplace accidents in Illinois, as in other states, every year. However, how do you know who is liable if you're hurt on the job and you know that it wasn't your fault?

The truth is that the type of accident and the exact circumstances play into this liability in a big way, so there is a list of people or groups who may be liable, depending on how everything happened. A few of the most common people who are liable include:

-- The owner of the construction site.--The general contractor.-- The subcontractors.-- The prime contractors.-- The architects.-- The engineers.-- The companies that made the construction equipment.

In many cases, multiple people may be responsible. For instance, the general contractor is in charge of the job as a whole, but he or she may hire a subcontractor to do electrical work. If an employee is then injured due to that electrical work being done poorly or unsafely, both the subcontractor and the general contractor may be at fault, or the fault may fall only on the subcontractor.

Similarly, fault could depend on who knows certain things about the accident. If the general contractor knew that some equipment was not safe to use and used it anyway, then the contractor and the company that manufactured the equipment could be at fault. If the contractor didn't know it was unsafe, just the manufacturer may be responsible.

After an accident that causes injury or even a wrongful death, it's necessary to sort through all of this when determining what compensation is owed.

Source: FindLaw, "Construction Injury Overview," accessed June 10, 2015

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