A walkway with a fence in a new york park

Landscape architects are responsible for designing outdoor spaces, such as parks, gardens, and other public and private areas. While their work often results in beautiful and functional landscapes, faulty designs can lead to serious or fatal construction injuries.

According to a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the landscape industry has experienced an increasing number of fatal and non-fatal statistics for several years in succession. Being struck by an object, such as a falling tree limb or a piece of equipment, is among the most common causes of injuries. Landscape architects must be aware of the risks and hazards onsite and take reasonable steps to prevent harm to workers building out the space.

It is imperative for landscape architects to ensure outdoor designs are safe for visitors, employees, guests, and all others who visit or are working at the location. During planning, landscape architects must design the project with a focus on preventing construction accidents.

Common Construction Injuries Caused by Landscape Architects

Tripping Hazards

Landscape architects are responsible for designing outdoor spaces that are functional and aesthetically pleasing. Some designs include tripping hazards that can endanger the construction team. Uneven or irregularly shaped pavers, curbs, planters, stairs, slippery walking surfaces or inadequate lighting, and other issues can lead to a serious trip and fall. Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents often lead to severe injuries, including broken bones, head injuries, back and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones, among others.

Falling Objects

Landscape architects are also responsible for designing structures and features which could pose a risk of falling objects. Poorly secured structures such as trellises, pergolas, or shelters can collapse and cause injuries. The types of injuries sustained due to falling objects could include concussions, fractures, broken bones, or worse. Identifying the potential hazards and taking reasonable steps to mitigate risks for workers onsite must be part of the planning process.

Factors Contributing to Construction Injuries Caused by Landscape Architects

Landscape architects play a critical role in designing outdoor spaces that are functional and aesthetically pleasing. Some of the most common factors contributing to construction injuries include:

Poor Communication

One of the main factors that can lead to construction injuries is a lack of communication between the landscape architect and the construction team. When a landscape architect fails to communicate the design clearly or ignores the construction team’s feedback, it increases the risk of worker injuries. In addition, if the landscape architect ignores or is unaware of the potential hazards in the design, such as uneven terrain or hidden obstacles, it can result in severe or catastrophic injuries.

When can a Landscape Architect be Held Liable for Injuries?

Landscape architects must ensure their designs are safe, functional, and meet the needs of their clients – and adhere to the safety standards in their industry. When landscape architects fail to meet these standards, construction workers are at high risk of injury or loss of life.

Landscape architect negligence is when the architect or firm fails to meet the safety standards in the industry by developing plans with dangerous design flaws. When a design is unsafe or the architect fails to assess potential hazards, that party may be held liable when a serious construction accident occurs. These injury accidents can come about due to the following:

  • Walking surfaces too steep or slippery
  • Designing unsafe structures
  • Failing to plan for adequate drainage in heavy rain or melting snow
  • Retaining wall collapse
  • Equipment rollovers
  • Scaffold collapse
  • Ladder falls
  • Trench collapse

When a landscape architect is found to be negligent, they may be held liable for any harm or injury that results from their actions. This can include paying damages for the injured worker. The compensation recovered, with the help of a New York on the job injury attorney, is often far more substantial than the workers’ compensation benefits.

What Types of Damages Could be Recovered?

When a construction worker is seriously injured on a landscaping project, workers’ compensation benefits provide some support, paying for medical treatment and a percentage of the money the worker would have earned. In cases in which a landscape architect failed to design a safe working environment, a third-party lawsuit could be brought to pursue compensation above and beyond workers’ comp benefits. The types of damages pursued in a claim or lawsuit can include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and compensation for permanent disabilities, along with the financial losses associated with the injuries or death.

Law Firm in NYC Representing Injured Workers

Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP is the premier construction accident law firm in NYC. Over the decades in practice, the firm has recovered over $1 billion for injured clients. Our founding attorneys are listed in Super Lawyers and are rated “AV Preeminent,” the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and are listed in the Best Lawyers directory. If you or a loved one was injured on an outdoor construction site, call (212) 986-7353 for a free case consultation.