What is a General Contractor’s Duty of Care to an Independent Contractor in Texas?

Sometimes a general contractor will hire an independent subcontractor for a construction job. If the independent subcontractor has an employee who is injured on the job, it begs the question of from whom the employee can recover for damages. Is it the general contractor’s liability? Does a general contractor on a construction project owe a duty of care to an independent subcontractor’s employee? What is a general contractor’s duty of care to an independent subcontractor in Texas? 

Generally, under Texas law, entities that employ independent contractors do not have a duty to ensure that the independent subcontractor performs its work safely. However, if the general contractor maintains a level of control over the way that the independent subcontractor performs work and this caused the damage, there is an exception. 

What Constitutes Control?

Control must be related to the activity or condition that caused the injury. Defined, control must extend to the “means, methods, or details” of the independent subcontractor’s work. For instance, if the general contractor instructed the subcontractor’s employees how to install something or operate machinery, this could be considered control. As such, the general contractor could be held liable for injuries related to this instruction. Simply having a safety employee from the general contractor on site during construction does not in and of itself constitute actual control over an independent subcontractor. The general contractor must have exacted actual control to be held liable.

Looking at the Contract

Another helpful element in determining whether or not a general contractor had actual control over an independent subcontractor is what the contract said. If a contract states that the independent contractor is solely responsible for the acts or omissions of its employees and all safety precautions, it becomes harder to say that the general contractor had active control and was therefore liable.  Without active control over an independent subcontractor, the general contractor doesn’t have the same duty of care. Therefore, if the employee of an independent subcontractor is injured on the job, they can file for workers’ compensation with the independent subcontractor, or if it comes to it, a civil case for damages. 

The Attorneys at Rochelle McCullough Help Those in Dallas Who Have Been Injured in a Construction Accident

When you have been the victim of a construction accident, you are often faced with handling the severe financial ramifications that accompany it, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You should not be held responsible for someone else’s negligence. You may be entitled to compensation either through workers’ compensation or a civil claim. Be sure to speak with a qualified Texas personal injury attorney as soon as possible. 

The lawyers at Rochelle McCullough help victims of construction accidents to get their lives and their livelihood back on track. We will fight for your rights. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.