The majority of America’s stunning buildings and homes were built by construction personnel. Construction is a dangerous occupation, and workers are frequently injured or even killed on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that about 20 percent of fatal laborer injuries occurred in the construction industry. On average, construction workers either become ill or injured on three of 100 workdays each year.
Both federal and Michigan state laws impose strict safety standards on construction companies. Unfortunately, not every employer follows these standards, and accidents can occur at even the safest job sites. If you were hurt on the job, a Michigan construction accident lawyer from Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case.
Michigan State Safety Plan (MIOSHA)
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) establishes federal safety standards for work sites. In addition to the federal regulations, each state has established its own OSHA guidelines. Michigan’s state plan, known as MIOSHA, has adopted many of the federal regulations, but there are several areas in the construction field that differ from federal guidelines. Some safety concerns covered by MIOSHA include:
- Boilers and pressure vessels
- First aid
- Airborne contaminants
- Hazard communication
- Personal protective equipment
- Electrical hazards
- Hoists, powered platforms, and elevators
A Michigan construction accident attorney could fully explain how MIOSHA regulations apply to a particular case. If a construction company fails to follow state or federal regulations, a lawyer may be able to hold it accountable for its actions.
Relevant Michigan Court Decisions
Michigan courts have heard several cases relating to construction accidents, and their decisions can play a critical role in the outcome of a current case.
Common Work Area
Some construction accident claims involve the common work area doctrine, which allows general contractors to be held accountable for the actions of their subcontractors. These cases allege that a contractor or property owner failed to take adequate safety measures within a “common work area,” but the precise definition of such a location can be unclear.
A 2009 Michigan Court of Appeals case, Alderman v. JC Development Communities, LLC, clarified the meaning of common work area. The court held that a subcontractor’s crane coming into contact with power lines did not meet the intended meaning of a common work area. Instead, a common work area is one involving significant risk to a large number of workers.
Employees Versus Independent Contractors
An important Supreme Court case in construction law, Kidd v. Miller-Davis Co. (1997), discussed the differences in meaning between an employee and an independent contractor for the purposes of gaining relief under the Michigan Worker’s Disability Compensation Act. The Michigan Supreme Court cited prior federal and state court decisions in its arguments.
The court decided that, in order to determine whether an injured construction worker was an employee or an independent contractor, one needs to look at all factors as a whole. Important considerations include the payment of wages, hiring and firing, control, and degree of responsibility, all of which must be balanced in deciding whether or not a laborer is an organization’s employee. A skilled construction accident attorney in Michigan could determine a worker’s employment status and identify all available sources of compensation.
Speak with a Michigan Construction Accident Attorney Today
If you were hurt on a jobsite, a Michigan construction accident lawyer could fully explain how state and federal regulations apply to your case. Work injury claims can be complex, and various factors can change the methods required to gain compensation.
If you need help seeking payment for your construction-related injuries, or you lost a loved one in an accident, contact Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. to schedule a free consultation.
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