Apart From The Contractor, Who Can You Sue For A Construction Site Injury?
Knowing whom to sue after a construction site accident is important. If you sue the wrong person, or don't sue every liable party, then you may not get the compensation you deserve. For example, suing the general contractor (which is what comes to mind first in these cases) may not be enough because his or her insurance may not cover all your damages adequately. There are many other parties you can go after such as the:
Design professionals (such as architects and engineers) have a responsibility of designing safe buildings. Therefore, it follows that they may be held responsible for their actions when an injury is traced back to their work. For example, an architect is expected to design a strong building. Therefore, when a building collapses and injures some pedestrians, and investigators prove that the collapse was occasioned by weak pillars, then the architect may be held responsible.
Just because a construction site owner hires a general contractor does not mean that he or she has washed his or her hands of the ensuing liabilities. In many cases, the owner signs a contract that makes an independent contractor the legal possessor of the site for the duration of the project. Depending on the wording of the contract, and the degree of control the owner exerts on the workers, he or she may be absolved of all or part of the liabilities.
However, if the owner hires an unskilled contractor (knowing very well that he or she is unskilled), then he or she may be held liable for injuries that a skilled contractor may have prevented. Therefore, the owner doesn't go scot-free just because he or she has appointed someone to oversee the construction.
Lastly, you may also be able to sue the manufacturers of the materials and machinery used at the construction site. Consider the example where an excavator's brakes fail to engage and the machine rams into a passing motorist. If the investigation reveals that this model of excavator has a history of defective brakes, then you may also go after the manufacture of the model. The same logic applies to manufacturers of defective cement (perhaps it doesn't dry or mix as well as it should).
If you suspect that these cases can get very complicated, then you are right. Determining responsibility is not easy, especially where are different contractors and subcontracts who have all signed different contracts. If you need legal representation, don't just hire any lawyer-- hire a construction accident lawyer with specific experience in construction accidents to help you unravel these complexities.