Unseen Danger of Hiring a Building Contractor

Earlier this year I had written about a post frame building construction site incident: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/07/safely-erecting-post-frame-buildings/. As we live in an overly litigious society, there is yet more to this story:

A Theresa man injured when roof trusses at a construction site gave way in high winds in June has filed a lawsuit against the site’s owner and two contractors.

Lee Trickey filed state Supreme Court action Monday at the Jefferson County Clerk’s office against Black River Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., Wilcox Gravel and Excavating Inc., and Vaadi Construction.

Mr. Trickey was working June 24 on the construction of a large pole barn at Black River Plumbing, 24692 County Route 50, when the trusses gave way, causing Mr. Trickey to fall from a height, with falling trusses then landing on him, according to the suit. He suffered a broken femur, pelvis, sternum and hip, as well as other injuries.

It is alleged that the trusses had been improperly hoisted and secured by employees of the contractors, resulting in Mr. Trickey’s injuries, and that the property owner failed to provide him with a reasonably safe place to work.

The suit does not specify an amount sought in damages. Mr. Trickey is represented by Syracuse attorney Donald S. DiBenedetto.”

As a property owner hiring professional (we hope), insured (again hopefully) and safety conscious (we really hope) building contractors – one would like to believe they have insulated themselves from potential legal action should things go awry. In this case a property owner is being named in a lawsuit for failing to provide a reasonably safe place to work, even though trusses were being placed during a high wind event!

Construction is an industry fraught with potential hazards, even when hiring experienced contractors. My own Father perished in a construction fall in 1988, even with over four decades of actually swinging a hammer, so it does sadly happen.

How to avoid situations such as these?

If hiring a contractor to perform any sort of work on your property thoroughly vet them (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/vetting-building-contractor/). Item number three in this article on insurance is particularly critical – especially in dealing with worker’s compensation (industrial) insurance.

Yes, you are going to pay more up front for a licensed and insured builder, and it will seem like a bargain later on, if you are named in a lawsuit such as our property owner above.

Discuss with your own insurance agent what sort of coverage you have – depending upon your individual circumstances, it may be prudent to add to your policy, just in case.

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