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Who Gets Sued?

Bookmark and Share Let's say a teenager wanders onto your construction site. Maybe they're looking for a place to hang out with their friends, maybe they just weren't looking where they were going while playing Pokemon Go. However they got there, there's a whole lot of potential danger on the site. There are nails to step on, ledges to walk right off of, and plenty of things to trip over or bump into. Long story short, somebody who shouldn't be on the construction site gets injured, and their family decides to file a lawsuit for it.

The question this leaves us with: Who gets sued?

Oftentimes, but not always, the answer is: Whoever can most afford to get sued.

An attorney is going to look for the biggest possible target. If Wal-Mart hires a local construction crew and somebody gets hurt on the site, Wal-Mart is likely to offer a huge settlement to make the whole problem go away. The construction crew has a reputation to maintain and relatively limited resources, and they're more likely to fight the case, and more likely to go to great lengths to prove that they were not at fault.

The injured party is, more often than not, just looking to get their medical bills paid, and, more often than not, that means looking for a cash settlement from the biggest financial entity involved, not suing a local roofing company and spending weeks in court.

This may not always be the case. The person filing a claim may have it out for the construction crew, thinking them primarily at fault. The client may have a reputation for spending more money in court than they would if they had simply agreed to a settlement. A number of factors play into who winds up being targeted in a lawsuit. More often than not, the people filing the claim are only looking to have their ends covered as quickly as possible, but there are a lot of variables.

The point is, it's not always the party most at-fault that winds up defending themselves in court. An attorney helps to select the target based on a number of factors, and whether or not a party is most at-fault is less important than whether the most fiscally powerful party can be said to be at fault.

Is a $200 Hammer Worth it?

Bookmark and Share Paying a little extra for quality tools and materials is, sometimes, a good idea. But let's be honest: What can a two hundred dollar hammer do that a twenty dollar hammer cannot? It's just a hunk of steel you use to whack nails into wood. As long as it's durable enough to get the job done, there's nothing that another hundred eighty dollars adds to the experience, is there?

It's worth investing a little extra in quality, but if you Google the best bottles of wine in the world, you'll find several in the $20-$100 range, and a few in the $3,000+ range. Is the human tongue even sophisticated enough to tell two thousand nine hundred dollars of difference? When you buy cheap, you get what you pay for, certainly, but after a certain point, any improvement in quality you get by spending more money is going to be tremendously marginal.

So how expensive should any given tool be? The tricky thing about that question is that the answer is subjective: A tool is worth what you're willing to pay.

Your best bet in shopping for tools and materials in construction is not to equate price with quality. Simply look for top-reviewed products, brands you're comfortable with or that come highly recommended, and grab the one that's within your budget. Buying the cheapest tool available might wind up costing you more in the long run if it malfunctions, if it causes an injury, if it breaks down and needs to be replaced a month after you've taken it out of the box. But we've pretty much mastered the power drill in the $50-$100 range. Spending an extra $200 on the purchase isn't going to make a job any easier.

When it comes to cars, suburban homes, fashion, gourmet food, it's not always about quality so much as it is about status. There are $20,000 luxury cars that feel as nice as a $100,000 alternative, but nobody turns their head and says "Wow, get a look at that Toyota!" Construction is a more practical field in many ways. When you walk onto a job site with a two hundred dollar hammer, your co-workers are more likely to laugh than envy you.

First Aid Myths

Bookmark and Share Too often, first aid tips are passed off as fact when they're based on outdated information or old wives tales. Here are a few that still persist even in 2016:

Ingesting Vomiting Always Works

In the old days, if someone swallowed some cleaning fluid or something, the immediate response was to induce vomiting to get the poison out of their system. There are times when inducing vomiting can help, but you should never do this before speaking with Poison Control. Many poisons can do just as much damage coming back up as they did going in. Many poisons, like the chemicals found in laundry detergent, can be counteracted with milk. Milk will curdle the chemicals and make them difficult for the stomach to digest.

Tourniquets Are A First Line Of Defense

Tourniquets are a major compromise: In the most extreme of emergencies, a tourniquet might save a person's life, at the expense of the injured limb. When encountering a serious wound, you want to stop the bleeding with direct pressure to the cut itself with a clean cloth (or paper towel, bandage, t-shirt, whatever you can get your hands on) while somebody calls 911.

Butter Can Help A Burn

Rubbing an oil all over a burn is actually not a very good idea. Ice, cold water and topical ointments are really your only option until help arrives.

Soak A Sprain In Hot Water

This can actually increase swelling. The correct response is rest, ice, compression wrap, and elevate, or RICE.

Staying Awake Can "Fix" A Concussion

The main reason you don't want someone to fall asleep after a head injury is so that you can monitor their condition. You can't check the pupil dilation when someone's eyes are closed. For serious head injuries, immediate medical attention is absolutely necessary. Keeping a person awake will not guarantee that they're fine.

Tilt Your Head Back To Stop A Nosebleed

This will only result in blood getting into your stomach or lungs. Better to sit up straight and apply pressure to the flesh part of the nose just below the bone. Hold it for ten minutes straight without letting up to check if it's stopped until the ten minutes have passed.

Let Your Wound Breathe

What Your Gofers Need To Know

Bookmark and Share On a job site, you're going to have people of varying levels of experience and expertise. A stone mason, for instance, is an artist, a scientist and a builder all in one. That's not a job that you can hand over to just anybody. Then again, how experienced does someone need to be to help carry lumber across the site and hold a wall up while you piece a frame together?

Not every job demands an expert, but, that's not to say that "any idiot can do it." There are a few basic requirements you're looking for when hiring your crew, even if they're only going to be handling the most basic tasks.

A basic sense of how to stay safe on a job site is a must. If there's one thing that "any idiot" can do on a jobsite, it's injure themselves. Make sure your new guys know all about basic on-site safety, from hard hats and safety goggles to on-the-job common sense. A great thing about construction work is that almost anybody can take on an entry level position and learn a trade, but you don't want people who simply have no sense for the job, people who got kicked out of shop class so the school wouldn't wind up getting sued.

Show your new hires around the place, let them know where the first-aid kits are and what to do in an emergency. Keep an eye on them on their first day, make sure that they know what they're doing, and don't assign them to any tasks that you're not sure they can safely handle.

Take time to teach your gofers. If it's a small crew, you can get hands-on with them and show them the ropes. There are trade schools for HVAC pros and electricians, but there's not much you can do to learn how to be a general handyman besides learn on the job. If you have a larger crew, you can turn a fresh hire into an expert in no time by assigning them to unofficial apprentice positions, helping your carpentry crew to build the frame one day, installing a tub with the bathroom team the next.