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Claim for a Personal Injury as a Result of a Construction Site Accident


In a claim for personal injury as a result of a construction site accident, you are going against a company, perhaps a corporation or an LLC or something of that nature. You are almost never suing an individual. That brings to mind how do you proceed with discovery once the lawsuit has been brought?

There is something in our discovery rules known as the 30(b)(6) deposition. It is the from the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have an almost identical rule as do most of the states. Rule 30(b)(6) is a deposition of a corporation or other entity. A 30(b)(6) deposition can be of a governmental agency or really of any organization You may wonder: How is a corporation deposed, since it’s not an actual person? The notion in law is that if you have the benefit of operating as a corporation, you must be subject to the same responsibilities as a natural person. One of the responsibilities is to have someone appear at a deposition as a spokesperson to express the corporations’ opinions or its subjective beliefs. (Yes, you can say that the corporation has subjective beliefs.) The person who comes to that deposition, and that will be a starting point in a construction accident case, the person who comes is responsible for binding the corporation by his or her answers. Moreover, that person has a responsibility to search for the information that is responsive to the request of the attorney for the injured worker. That is a big responsibility and it can’t be passed off with a simple, “I don’t know.” Rather, there is a burden to search for that information before the deposition takes place. The burden is limited only by what is reasonably available.

Thus not only will the designee bind the corporation, he/she will investigate to make himself/herself aware of information that they may not personally know. As stated, the only proviso or limitation is that the burden on the searched-for information be reasonably available. The nice thing is that this duty exists in all types of personal injury cases. Yes, this blog, part of a series on construction cases, concerns one type of personal injury case- one that will most assuredly involve a corporation or other large concern. This large project will not be owned or run by a private individual. It is owned or run by an organization and thus the need for a corporate deposition.

You may well be involved in a case where there are numerous corporations. Some choose the corporate form or an LLC to obtain tax benefits while enjoying the insulation and limited liability of a corporation or another similar structure. I would suggest to you that that would allow a trier of fact, a jury perhaps, to draw certain conclusions. The plaintiff’s attorney often represents a young hard-working man or woman, not very well-paid, trying to make a living and, on the other hand, there are these major corporations that are trying to get the financial benefits of the system.

A final point: What is the budget of the project? What was the cost of the property? What was the cost of the large scale development or renovation? Let’s compare that to the amount that was spent on safety. I think you can often find that the amount spent on safety is a very small percentage, really just a small fraction, of what the overall project is. I would ask people with whom I am negotiating, or ask a jury if it were to come to that: Is it really fair and appropriate to spend less than 1% of a project’s worth on safety? I think the answer is pretty clear.

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