Who Is Responsible for Falling Debris Injuries?
Falling debris is a significant injury risk. Common injuries associated with falling objects are head injuries, skull fractures and traumatic brain damage. A falling object could cause permanent disabilities or the wrongful death of a victim. If you or someone you love has injuries from falling debris in Massachusetts, identify the party that could be legally responsible. This first step could enable you to bring a claim against someone for financial compensation.
Falling objects, materials, tools and debris are common incidents at construction sites. Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that workers getting struck by falling objects was the second leading cause of death in the construction industry in 2018, responsible for 112 deaths (11.1% of all fatalities in construction). Debris may fall and strike workers, pedestrians and passersby at a construction site due to poorly constructed scaffolds, unsecured tools/materials and structural collapses.
If the negligence of a construction company or one of its hired workers resulted in a falling debris injury, the company could be liable for your damages. A construction company could be directly liable for failing to maintain a safe premise by properly training its employees, inspecting for hazards and repairing known defects. It could also be vicariously liable for a negligent or reckless construction worker that causes falling debris.
Some falling debris injuries arise due to defective and dangerous products. A crane collapse at a construction site, for example, could point to the liability of the crane manufacturer. A manufacturer or distributor might bear fault for falling debris if one of its products malfunctioned due to a defect and this caused the injury in question. In general, you will not have to prove negligence to obtain compensation as a plaintiff during a product liability claim. The rules of strict product liability will apply instead.
If falling debris stemmed from a property defect, such as a weakened building structure, the owner of the property could be legally responsible. A fire, flood, building collapse, roof collapse, rotted tree limb, or falling objects inside a building (e.g. a ceiling fan or light) could all point to a landowner’s liability for damages.
All property owners in Massachusetts must maintain reasonably safe premises. This duty of care may require inspecting a property for hazards, repairing known hazards and warning visitors of foreseeable risks of harm. If the property owner negligently failed to prevent the falling debris, he or she could be liable for an accident victim’s losses. You could have a claim against an individual property owner, a business owner or the government depending on where the incident occurred.
You might have a claim against a government entity in Massachusetts if the falling debris injured you in a public place. If a dead tree limb fell on you in a public park, for example, the state, county or city government body in charge of park maintenance could be liable. Claims against the government have different rules than typical injury cases. Hire a lawyer near you to help you bring a claim to damages against the government where your accident occurred.
Proving Your Falling Debris Claim
If you believe someone reasonably could have prevented the debris from falling and injuring you, that party may owe you compensation. File an insurance claim against the at-fault party and negotiate for a fair injury settlement. If an insurance settlement is not possible, your lawyer can help you go to trial. During an injury trial, you or your lawyer will need to prove the defendant breached a duty of care owed to you. Then, your lawyer will need evidence that the debris would not have fallen were it not for the defendant’s negligence. A Boston personal injury attorney can help you with each phase of your injury case.