Liability of Subcontractors
Construction projects involve a myriad of business relationships. Normally, the general contractor is hired by the client. Then the general contractor hires subcontractors to do specific jobs like hanging drywall or installing electrical conduit. The general contractor may do nothing more than hire the subcontractors and let them loose on the jobsite. On the other hand a general contractor may control everything from when the subcontractors are to start working to where they procure their materials. The amount of control the general contractor exerts over the subcontractors determines who is liable should you be injured on the jobsite. A good rule of thumb is the more control the general contractor exerts over the subcontractors the more likely they will be liable for your injuries.
If you have been injured on the jobsite call Zayed Law Offices’ experienced Joliet personal injury attorneys at 855.726.1616. Our attorneys are here to answer your questions.
Who is Responsible for Your Injuries?
In most instances, general contractors will not be liable for injuries caused by the subcontractor’s acts or omissions. General contractors typically do not directly supervise the subcontractors work. This arrangement makes it difficult for the general contractor to discover or prevent negligent performance by the subcontractor. There are several exceptions to this general rule where the general contractor can be held liable for injuries caused by the subcontractor.
Retained Control Exception
One such exception is the retained control exception. The retained control exception states that the more control a general contractor retains the more likely they will be liable. Examples of a general contractor retaining control over a subcontractor range from requiring the subcontractor to follow the general contractor’s safety policies to direct supervision of the subcontractors work. If the general contractor falls within this exception they will be liable for the negligent acts or omissions of the subcontractor’s employees. Basically, if the subcontractor is not in complete control of their work the general contractor may be liable for injuries they cause.
Knowledge of Unsafe Work Methods
General contractors can be found liable for the acts or omissions of a subcontractor even if they do not meet the retained control exception. A general contractor may be liable if they possess actual or constructive knowledge of a subcontractor’s unsafe work methods. For example OSHA requires that construction workers working six feet or more above a lower level use fall protection. If a general contractor observers subcontractors violating this OSHA requirement the general contractor has actual knowledge of unsafe work methods. If a job required performing work that met this OSHA standard and the general contractor never saw the subcontractor bring in fall protection equipment the general contractor most likely has constructive knowledge. A general contractor can overcome this exception by demonstrating that they did not have an opportunity to observe the unsafe working conditions.
Knowledge of a Dangerous Condition on the Jobsite
A general contractor may also be found liable for the actions of a subcontractor when they have actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition on the jobsite. This exception works like the knowledge of unsafe work methods exception. For example if a general contractor knew of an uncovered hole on the jobsite they would be found liable for any injuries that resulted from that uncovered hole. Much like knowledge of unsafe work methods this exception can be overcome if the general contractor can demonstrate that they had an insufficient opportunity to observe the unsafe working conditions.
Get the Justice You Deserve
When you have been injured time is of the essence. As time passes witnesses forget and evidence deteriorates or disappears. Call Zayed Law Offices at 855.726.1616 for a free case evaluation. You can also chat with us online at https://www.zayedlawoffices.com/.