Lawsuit against contractor

Questions about recent construction worker’s death.

Several days ago, a construction worker fell to his death at a site on the Bellevue College campus. Exactly why he fell 50 feet off a ladder is still the subject of investigation.

This tragedy is unfortunately not the first of its kind this year. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited three companies for safety violations related to the death of a construction worker in downtown Seattle in January. The man died after falling 72 feet from a scaffold at a construction site on Taylor Avenue North. 

A serious violation exists in a workplace if there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition. A willful violation can be issued when L&I has evidence of plain indifference, a substitution of judgment or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule.

Referring to the January construction fatality, “This tragedy could have been prevented if any one of these companies had made certain that proper and safe scaffolding was installed to do the necessary work, and workers had appropriate fall-protection and training,” said Anne Soiza, assistant director for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “Frequent hazard analysis on construction sites will save lives.”

Whether a worker is a contractor or an employee, the general contractor/employer is responsible for providing for adequate safety equipment and training. Adequate and frequent inspections of the site are also required.

Stritmatter Kessler Whelan was asked to represent a profoundly injured construction worker, Candelario Perez, who was tightening barbed wire fence, when he slipped and fell off a cliff. Luckily, he survived. However, he is now a quadriplegic.  After the State of WA’s investigation ruled against the general contractor and issued a small fine. But becaue Mr. Perez was a subcontractor, he had the right to sue the general contractor.

Under Washington State law, there is a principle known as “Stute.” Stute requires that a general contractor maintain a safe work site. In Mr. Perez’s case, the general contractor had no idea how to work on a cliff and delegated that project by hiring a subcontractor. However, the general contractor did nothing to ensure that the subcontractor was keeping its employees safe.

Because there is worker’s compensation in Washington, an injured worker cannot sue their employer. But they can sue if someone other than their employer caused their injury.

About Us

This blog is maintained by attorneys at Stritmatter Kessler Whelan (SKW), focused on important legal issues, news, and developments... MORE
Connect
   
Favorite Quotation

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
— Proverbs 24:10

Intense love does not measure, it just gives.
— Mother Teresa

The test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.
— Pearl S. Buck

You may trod on me in the very dirt. But still, like dirt, I'll rise.
— Maya Angelou

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity.
— George Bernard Shaw

Without justice, courage is weak.
— Benjamin Franklin

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fairness is an across-the-board requirement for all our interactions with each other ...Fairness treats everybody the same.
— Barbara Jordan

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.
— Thomas Jefferson

Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any equal hope in the world?
— Abraham Lincoln

I don’t know what kind of a future life I believe in, but I believe that all that we go through here must have some value.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

The basic proposition of the worth and dignity of man is the strongest, the most creative force now present in the world.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it is obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.
— James Madison

There is no truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.
— Thomas Jefferson