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You have a serious construction accident case and the question is, as I have pondered in the past blogs, how do you go about establishing or proving liability on the part of the general contractor or another subcontractor? Again, the injuries can be varied and, unfortunately they are often severe. They can happen as a result of any number of reasons: unguarded stairway, unsecured plywood over a hole, or a fall from a roof.
Before we begin a little background: I have been asked what you can and cannot say at a deposition. New lawyers are always told in trial preparation classes to never say “this is the last question.” The reason why is because, invariably, it isn’t. There’s almost always another question that occurs to a lawyer. The lawyer will want to ask the question despite having already said that they had finished their questions.
Construction site accidents involve many players and they can be complicated. They also involve many defendants. There is one unmistakable document that governs the relationship of the parties. It is the friend of the injured working man. That document is the American Institute of Architect’s General Conditions, Form 201-2007. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of the parties.
Unfortunately, injuries can occur in many different ways on a construction site. There are often falls and that is the leading cause of an injury on a construction site. A fall can occur on a roof, in an unguarded hole, or an unguarded stairwell and so forth. There could be a scaffolding accident involving a crane or other heavy machinery. There might be exposure to hazardous materials.
Construction sites are known to have heavy machinery, steep heights, and a whirlwind of activities from a large number of actors. Naturally, all this brings considerable risks. The statistics bear the danger out so it is no surprise that the industry is heavily regulated by federal, state and administrative bodies.
Long time legal observers have said that to bring a lawsuit is to open yourself up to scrutiny, both of the past and the future. Yes, there is a fair amount of discovery that takes place of the injured victim who brings a lawsuit. But the good news: I am here to tell you that it goes both ways. When a defendant, especially in a construction site accident, is sued, your lawyer will get a whole lot of information about the other side as well.
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?
The marketing of cases, how you get cases, can be daunting and it can make the difference between a very successful law firm or a failed law firm. I am very fortunate that I got into marketing on the internet about 10 years ago, which in some respects was early. That has been a big benefit to my practice. I still do get referrals from other attorneys but many more cases come directly from the internet.
I have practiced law for 35 years and I hope I am lean though not mean. Why lean? Because a plaintiff lawyer’s margin for error is not great. Nowhere does this apply more than in the selection of cases. Actually, it works to a client’s advantage because why would a lawyer, especially one who works on a contingent fee, take your case unless he/she thought that there could be a recovery?