David G. Smith
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Bay Area Runner Falls 12 Feet Due to Unmarked Construction Site

construction site sign.jpgA runner friend of mine sent me an article about Christine Kennedy, a leading marathoner and a top age group runner for decades. Christine, who ran a 2:59 marathon at age 59, had plans to be the first 60-year-old woman to break three hours in a marathon, and she planned to do it in Chicago this October.

Unfortunately, a terrible fall from her balcony not only derailed her plans, but almost cost her her life. She fell from her apartment porch in Los Gatos, California, suffering a fractured skull and concussion. It was only because of her strength and superior health that she didn't have any spinal injuries, which could have been fatal.

Kennedy said in the article that a construction company was working on the walkway and first floor deck at her dwelling. There were no warning signs or barricades that indicated a hazardous condition.

Without knowing more, I can only speculate as to whether the construction company or any other entity is liable in this case. Generally, in construction cases, the contractor that was actually doing the work can be held liable. The general contractor has primary responsibility for the overall safety concerns of a project, so it can be held liable as well.

Other contractors-for example, if a different company laid down scaffolding that contributed to a fall, or if a subcontractor left a tool on the ground that caused another person to trip-can be held liable if they played a role in creating the hazardous condition.

Construction sites, especially projects held in residential buildings, can present conditions that lead to serious injuries for those that live in these buildings. If you fall or otherwise injure yourself in the midst of a building remodel or other construction job, don't chalk it up to clumsiness. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can analyze the situation and try to recover damages.

Remarkably, Christine resumed training recently and plans to achieve her sub-3 goal at California International Marathon in Sacramento this December. We wish her the best!

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David G. Smith
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