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Contractors may be liable for construction injuries

The state of Florida has specific laws surrounding the negligence of a contractor or subcontractor during a construction project. Kayfetz v. A.M. Best Roofing, Inc., ruled on in Florida in 2002, set a precedent on the burden of proof if someone was injured on a site, complete or in progress.

In the case of general negligence, a plaintiff can recover a claim if it is possible to prove the contractor had a legal duty to owner or contractor, as well as proving the defendant breached that duty. The injury concerned must also be proven to be the result of the breach.

Owners of properties may not be entirely liable for work done on their property by independent contractors. The exception is when owners are directly involved with the contractor's work to the point they affect the worksite or create circumstances for negligence. Also, an owner may be considered a contractor for legal purposes if he or she has the ultimate responsibility for safety on the site.

In addition, two or more contractors working on the same site closely enough that one is aware of another's work may have the responsibility to prevent harm from occurring due to hazards created by another.

An attorney with experience in construction litigation or premises liability issues is often an advisable representative for a potential plaintiff in a suit regarding damages or orders to stop work. The right lawyer will be able to help navigate options for settlements and court actions in the Sunshine State.

Source: US Law, "Florida Construction Law Compendium," Wiliam F. Fink and P. David Brannon, accessed Oct. 24, 2017

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