Texas Contractor Negligence
Contractor negligence is any action or lack of action that results in a failure to uphold a reasonable duty of care and leads to damage or injury to another person. Texas courts have ruled that any contractor can be held liable for negligence that occurs on a premises. Not surprisingly, any number of accidents can occur on a job site. Common forms of contractor negligence include:
- Inadequate supervision of workers
- Poor safety training
- Reckless actions
- Lack of safety equipment and equipment accidents
- Poor instructions for employees
- Lack of communication between workers and subcontractors
- Defective construction
- Subcontracting out particularly dangerous or technical work
- Assigning inappropriate tasks to untrained workers
- Lacking required permits
- Failure to follow all safety regulations
In order to file a claim for negligent construction, one has to prove that the builder or designer violated the applicable standard of care for contractors. In Texas, the standard of care for contractors revolves around the “level of control” the contractor has over the jobsite. If the general contractor retains actual or contractual control over the means and methods of the independent contractor's work, they owe a duty of care to their independent contractor’s employees.
Degree of Control Over the Worksite
The degree of control a contractor has over a worksite will vary from case to case. What this means is that if the general contractor or its employees exercise too much control over the manner and means of a subcontractors’ work, the general contractor may find itself on the hook for employee injury negligence claims by subcontractor employees. Furthermore, this also applies to any of the work done by the general contractor themselves.
After a serious construction accident, multiple parties may be able to share the blame, including:
- Construction site owners
- General contractors
- Manufacturers of faulty or defective equipment
Texas Rules Affecting Negligence Claims
Under Texas law, there are two time limitations on filing a lawsuit against a general contractor. The two time limitations are the Statute of Repose and the Statute of Limitations.
Statute of Repose
Any lawsuit against a general contractor must be made within 10 years of “substantial completion” of the project. Substantial completion may include the date provided by a certificate of occupancy but in most instances, there are other tests.
Statute of Limitations
Any lawsuit filed against a general contractor for injuries caused by negligence must be made within two years from the injury. Furthermore, there is a four-year statute of limitations on claims made regarding the discovery of a defective or poorly built project.