“One of the most important things a contractor can do to position the company for a strong defense to a personal injury lawsuit is to begin preserving evidence from the accident right away,” Kelly A. McGee writes in Construction Executive. “The information derived from the first hour following an accident is critical to defense lawyers.”
In her article, Kelly — a partner and trial attorney in the firm’s General Liability and Construction Practice Groups, and a member of Professional Women in Construction — explores the advantages of immediate and thorough documentation of a construction site personal injury incident. Early intervention of the scene and documentation of the equipment, ground, surroundings, and plaintiff helps defense attorneys — in many cases, years after the incident — neutralize a plaintiff’s narrative. “Once a contractor receives notice of an accident, he should immediately secure the site and inspect, then photograph or take videographic evidence of everything in the area,” Kelly writes. It is vital to document the less conspicuous evidence, such as the reports of nearby witnesses who may claim they saw and heard nothing, alongside the obvious evidence such as the condition of equipment.
“When a lawyer isn’t armed with this information, it potentially allows the plaintiff to control the case,” Kelly concludes. “Collecting and preserving this critical information will prevent that from happening.”