Down in the Mud

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Q: At the bottom of a muddy excavation pit, I was standing on a pallet.  At the direction of my foreman, I raised a heavy pipe above my head, to move it to higher ground.  My pallet shifted in the mud, and the pipe fell upon my shoulder.  My employer is the excavation subcontractor.  The mud was a result of water coming from our machine.  Should I sue the general contractor?

A: Although every G.C. possesses general supervisory authority, you need to prove that the G.C. exercised actual supervision and control over your activity.  Most likely, the G.C. had no direct involvement in the performance of your work and in the manner in which the excavation equipment was used.

Your attorney would want evidence that G.C. people were present at the time of your accident, or supplied you with equipment, or conducted safety meetings, or exercised supervision beyond general oversight and coordination of the subcontractors.

Even if the G.C. was generally aware of the uneven ground, of the debris and of the fact that your employer’s machinery used water and might even hit a water source in the course of its drilling – this provides only general notice of potential conditions.  That is not enough to meet your burden.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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