Are general contractors liable for construction accidents in Philadelphia?


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In many construction accident cases, general contractors may be held liable for ignoring safety considerations. The reality is that general contractors are notorious for failing to provide a safe work environment and often attempt to pass safety obligations on to subcontractors.

For example, a general contractor is hired for a major job, such as a high-rise downtown. Per its contract with the developer, the general contractor assumes all safety obligations for the worksite. Then in its contracts with various subcontractors, the general contractor attempts to relieve itself of those safety obligations. This type of behavior, passing the buck on safety, is very common.

When an employee of a subcontractor gets hurt, he may be able to bring a claim against the general contractor. The basis of the claim against the general contractor is its failure to assume safety obligations.

Related: Construction Accidents in PA & NJ – General Contractor Liability

However, in Pennsylvania construction accident cases, insurance companies for general contractors often raise a defense known as the “statutory employer defense.” This defense basically means that the general contractor was acting as the employer and therefore, an employee of a subcontractor is barred from being able to bring suit against the general contractor. In construction accident cases, the statutory employer defense can be overcome. It takes an experienced and knowledgeable construction accident lawyer to investigate the case and make the right arguments to overcome this defense.

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