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Court Determines General Contractors May Be Liable For Independent Contractors’ Work Place Injuries

A long running case recent case has determined that a general contractor may be held liable for personal injuries suffered by an independent contractor if the general contractor actively engaged in conduct that contributed to the independent contractor’s injuries.

In Tverberg v. Fillner Construction, Inc. an independent contractor was injured on a worksite after falling into a four-foot deep hole. The contractor had recognized the danger and requested that the condition be fixed. However, before the dangerous condition could be remedied, the contractor was injured.

If you have been injured in a workplace accident it is important to contact an experienced Stockton work place accident attorney to discuss your case and determine your next steps.

This case went through several court hearings, looking at the responsibility of different people on a job site, including the owner, the general contractor, supervisors and several lower level subcontractors when a party suffers an injury.

Here, the court determined that although an independent contractor on the job may retain some responsibility for his or her injuries, a general contractor on a jobsite could be held directly liable for injuries suffered by an independent contractor where the general contractor actively engaged in conduct that contributed to those injuries.

Further, it’s not enough to establish liability if the general contractor simply allows a dangerous condition to exist (is passive about an unsafe condition). The general contractor must be actively involved in some way in creating the dangerous condition. In this situation, because the general contractor asked for the holes to be dug, directed another contractor to dig the holes and failed to cover up the holes after requested to do so, the court determined that any one of these actions could constitute an “affirmative contribution” to the accident.

As a result, the appellate court sent the case back to the trial court for a determination of liability.

If you have been injured on a work site, many complicated laws concerning your right to recover compensation exist. For more information, or to discuss your work accident case, please contact a top Stockton work place accident lawyer at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.