Wrongful Death: How Roofing Contractors Can Avoid and Defend Against a Claim
While no roofing contractor wants to be responsible for an injury, many fail to abide by safety regulations that can prevent fatal accidents on their jobsites. Below, we discuss how you can avoid and defend against wrongful death claims that have cost other contractors their careers. If you’ve been blindsided by a wrongful death claim, consult a roofing attorney in Texas with years of experience working with the industry.
Wrongful Death in Texas
In the State of Texas, a wrongful death results from a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” With few exceptions, a surviving spouse, child, parent, or representative of the deceased has two years to file a wrongful death claim after the date of the death. Of note, a wrongful death claim is a lawsuit, which means that a claim can be brought against you even if no criminal charges have been filed. If found negligent, a contractor could be on the hook for expenses including, but not limited to, medical treatment, mental anguish, and exemplary damages.
Avoid Falls to Avoid Wrongful Death Claims
Of course, the best way to avoid a wrongful death claim is to ensure the safety of your workforce. Falls are by far the largest source of roof fatalities. With 76 percent of fatalities in the roofing industry resulting from falls, roofers are “three times more likely to experience fatal work-related injuries than other construction workers.”
One way to avoid a wrongful death claim is to abide by the fall protection standards put forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These standards require employers to create a fall protection plan, inspect equipment, and heed warnings, among other requirements.
Defending Against a Wrongful Death Claim
Chief among OSHA’s standards is the requirement for workers to wear fall arrest systems when working at an elevation of six feet or higher. Had one Maine roofing company required their workers to wear the appropriate fall arrest systems, they may have avoided a fatal fall on their jobsite and the subsequent $2.5 million lawsuit.
Very few roofing companies can recover from a wrongful death lawsuit and accompanying OSHA fines. If you have been hit with a wrongful death claim, it is imperative that you consult a roofing attorney in Texas. Only an attorney familiar with Texas roofing laws should represent you in such a situation. Before you have to defend your actions in a court of law, consult a roofing lawyer in Texas who can review your case and develop a sterling defense.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.