There is a perfect reason for pedestrians in Los Angeles and elsewhere to feel nervous when they have to pass by a construction project that almost spills onto the sidewalk. Construction company owners must ensure that employees and passers-by are safe. Incidents such as the death of a woman in another state who walked past a construction zone could have severe legal consequences for the construction firm.
What makes a construction site safe?
Reportedly, a piece of plywood detached from the fencing around a construction site and struck the woman. She succumbed to severe injuries caused by the plywood. Different states and court jurisdictions could interpret safe construction sites differently. However, for civil lawsuits that follow such accidents, negligence will be based upon whether the site was reasonably safe compared to the safety level maintained by comparable construction sites.
In similar situations to the pedestrian who lost her life after being struck by a piece of wood, surviving family members might have grounds to file a wrongful death claim in a civil court. If such an incident is not fatal, the injured victim could file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue financial relief. However, a pedestrian who was injured after unauthorized entry onto the construction site or after disregarding posted warning signs might have problems establishing negligence.
Civil lawsuits require plaintiffs to prove negligence on the part of one or more parties. These could be the designated safety officers, the construction company owner, subcontractors or general contractors. Documented claims to present for the adjudication of the court could include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs when applicable
- Lost wages
- Emotional damages like pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment
When such a lawsuit is filed in California, a monetary judgment might include past and future damages if the injuries require ongoing treatment or therapy, or if the plaintiff cannot return to work for an extended period.