This recent success for the Arizona Husband and Wife Law Team — Alexis and Mark Breyer — holds the general contractor and subcontractor responsible for dangerous conditions on a construction site that led to the serious personal injury of a plumber. Mark Breyer commented that “when a jury follows the law and holds companies responsible for their failures to protect workers on the job site, it is a great day not only for our client, but for all construction workers in Arizona.”
Unsafe Working Conditions Lead to Serious Injury
In 2007, a plumber attempted to climb a staircase on the construction site where he was working under a general contractor and alongside a subcontractor. As he ascended the stairs, they completely collapsed beneath him, leaving him with injuries that included a burst fracture. The plumber required a two-level spinal fusion surgery to address his injuries.
The faulty staircase had recently been constructed by a subcontractor and was in the process of being moved. No caution tape or sign were present on the stairs to indicate that they were unusable and dangerous. Though the general contractor refused to accept responsibility for the accident, the plumber took the stance that the general contractor is responsible for the overall job site, including all communication, policies and procedures that take place there.
Subcontractor Accepts Responsibility
The general contractor attempted to blame the subcontractor for failing to warn the plumber, and the plumber for using a staircase that had other workers near it. The subcontractor did accept responsibility for failing to properly block usage of the staircase.
After two days of deliberation, the jury awarded the client $1.9 million dollars, assigning 39% of the responsibility to the general contractor, 58% to the subcontractor, and 3% to the injured plumber.
This case reflects the importance of holding companies accountable for the conditions in which their employees are working. Everyone deserves a safe workplace.