Scaffolding Accidents & Injuries: Your Legal Options
When an accident occurs on the job site, the moments following can be chaotic and terrifying for the injured.
This is especially true in the aftermath of a scaffolding incident. A scaffold is an elevated and temporary structure that laborers use as a platform to perform their work. There are two types of scaffolds: supported scaffolds and suspended scaffolds. There are three common workers who use scaffolding in their everyday work. Typically, these are erectors/dismantlers, users, and designers.
Erectors and dismantlers are the workers who are responsible for assembling and disassembling scaffolding for other workers to use. The users of scaffolding are the people “on the job,” often performing the main activity of the site. The designers are the people responsible for designing the scaffolds who must be registered, professional engineers.
Even with these professionals working together on scaffolding, accidents still happen.
Types of Scaffolding Accidents & Injuries
There are a handful of common injuries caused by scaffolding accidents. Those injured include everyone from the designers to the users of the scaffolding equipment. According to OSHA, common hazards include:
- Falls from elevation, due to lack of fall protection.
- The collapse of the scaffold, caused by instability or overloading.
- Being struck by falling tools, work materials, or debris.
- Electrocution, due to the proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines.
In fact, according to OSHA, two of most frequently cited violations in 2021 were fall protection and scaffolding violations. In addition to these hazards, workers using scaffolding equipment are also subject to other accidents such as a struck-by.
The injuries sustained by accidents like the ones listed above can be life-altering. For example, severe falls can lead to major injuries such as broken bones or brain injuries, making it difficult for a person to get around or live on their own. According to the CDC, falls are the number one cause of construction-worker fatalities. Other accidents, like electrocution, can cause cardiac arrest, muscle, nerve or tissue damage, burns, or a subsequent fall.
Construction Injuries Caused by Negligence
It is reported that scaffolding-related accidents cause over 4,000 injuries per year. If you or a loved one has suffered from a scaffolding-related injury, there may be an opportunity to receive compensation through a personal injury claim.
Personal injury claims can help injured parties receive compensation for the damages which can help offset medical bills, loss of income, emotional damage, recoup earnings that were lost, or pain and suffering. In a personal injury claim, the injured must prove there was negligence at the hands of someone else. In a scaffolding injury, that someone may be the equipment manufacturer, construction companies, contractors (such as the erectors, dismantlers, or designers mentioned above) or the property owner.
Negligence is proven using a four-prong test. The person injured (the plaintiff) must prove that the person allegedly at fault (the defendant) acted negligently by answering these four questions:
- Duty: Did the defendant owe a legal duty to the plaintiff within these circumstances?
- Breach: Did the defendant breach that legal duty by acting (or failing to act) in a certain way?
- Causation: Did the defendant’s actions (or inaction) actually cause the plaintiff’s injury?
- Damages: Was the plaintiff harmed or injured as a result of the defendant’s actions?
If the injured and their attorneys can prove the above four elements, then they may be entitled to compensation.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit – Scaffolding Accidents
If you have been permanently injured due to a scaffolding accident, our team is ready to help you—starting with a free consultation. At Hurley McKenna & Mertz we are prepared to handle your personal injury case as it pertains to scaffolding or construction accidents. Our attorneys will help you to understand your legal rights, document and report the injury and help to provide peace of mind in the pursuit of financial compensation.
For more information or to book a free consultation today, please contact our office.