There are several options for plaintiffs to sue after a construction accident in Indiana. Contractors, subcontractors, property owners, manufacturers, and others are all possible defendants. But deciding which party is best depends on the facts of your case. We’ll cover the basics in this article, but you will need to consult with a legal professional at a quality law firm if you have more specific questions.
So Who Can I Sue If I Have Been in a Construction Accident?
A number of parties are involved in a typical construction accident case. Each one of them has a unique relationship to the case and the relevant facts. And each will have different levels of legal exposure. Understanding whom to sue hinges in large part on the facts of the case. That said, here are some common parties to a construction accident.
Contractors and Subcontractors
Contractors and subcontractors in Indiana have a duty to provide a safe work environment for employees. If they fail to do so, and their negligence leads to an accident, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries or losses. For example, let’s say a subcontractor failed to provide adequate safety harnesses to the workers at a construction site and an accident occurred. In that event, you, as the hurt worker, may be able to sue the subcontractor for compensation or damages.
Property owners also have a duty to ensure the safety of workers on their premises. If a property owner fails to maintain a safe environment, they may be liable for any resulting injuries or losses. For example, let’s say a property owner fails to repair a dangerous condition on their property, such as a broken step or a weak railing. If you receive injuries from that defect, then you may be able to hold the property owner responsible for your injuries.
Manufacturers and Suppliers
When a construction accident occurs due to defective or unsafe equipment or materials, the manufacturer or supplier of those products may be the at-fault party. In that case, you and your attorney may file a claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer or supplier of the equipment at the site.
There are several different scenarios that can result in a successful claim against the manufacturer or supplier. One avenue is if the manufacturer or supplier failed to properly design, test, or manufacture their products. Another approach is to evaluate whether the manufacturer or supplier did not give workers adequate warnings or instructions regarding their use of the equipment.
State/Municipal Government Entities
State and local governments often play a significant role in construction site projects. However, there will probably be extra hoops you’ll need to jump through. Furthermore, under the Indiana Tort Claims Act (ITCA), government entities are immune from liability for tort claims, unless the government has waived its immunity or an exception applies.
Prevailing in a Construction Accident Case in Indiana
In most construction accident cases, you will have to prove the at-fault party was negligent. In Indiana, you need to prove four things to establish negligence in a construction accident case.
- Duty. First, you need to show that the defendant (i.e., the person you’re suing) owed a duty of care to you to act reasonably under the circumstances.
- Breach: The next step is to show that the defendant breached their duty of care to you by failing to act like a reasonable person (or entity) under the circumstances.
- Causation. Assuming a breach took place, you need to demonstrate that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries.
- Damages. Finally, you need to provide evidence that you suffered actual damages because of the defendant’s actions (or lack of action).
Each of these elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not that the element is true.
Understanding Fault in an Indiana Negligence Case
A word about fault: Indiana operates under a modified comparative fault system. This means that if a court finds you were partially at fault for the accident, it may reduce your compensation proportionately. For example, if the court finds you to be 25% at fault for the accident, it will decrease your compensation by 25%.
Who Can I Not Sue for a Construction Accident?
You might have noticed that one critical party is missing from our list: your employer. Employees in Indiana generally cannot sue their employer for negligence related to a workplace injury. This is because Indiana is a “no-fault” state when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. Under this system, employees who are injured on the job are eligible to receive certain benefits, such as medical expenses, wage replacement, and compensation for permanent injuries, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
In exchange for these benefits, employees cannot sue their employer for damages stemming from a workplace injury unless the employer’s conduct was intentional. Put another way, the employer’s actions must have gone far beyond mere negligence and into the realm of criminal behavior.
In addition, Indiana requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, so it is basically impossible to sue your employer for negligence in Indiana.
Why You Should Act Now
It’s essential to note that Indiana has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means that you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit after the accident occurs. In Indiana, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. Failing to file a lawsuit within this time frame could result in the court throwing your claim out.
Have More Questions? Contact Gerling Law Today
Want a more specific answer to the question, Who do I sue in a construction accident that I’ve been in? We’re ready to help you get answers. At Gerling Law, we pride ourselves on being more than just attorneys; we are dedicated legal advocates who are committed to serving our communities with compassion, fairness, and justice.
With decades of experience, we have successfully represented numerous clients and achieved remarkable results. Our approach has earned us high praise from satisfied clients, who appreciate the personal attention and excellent service we provide. Furthermore, we believe that money should never be a barrier to justice. Thus, we offer a free initial consultation to all potential clients. Reach out to us today by calling us at 888-437-5464. You can also contact us online.