Each day, thousands of people enter and leave numerous buildings, never really stopping to consider what it took to build the structure or what it continues to take in order to maintain the building. Even when walking under scaffolding, visitors typically ignore these structures, not realizing that the workers using that scaffolding are helping to keep a building in good shape. Or that those same workers are often put in terrible danger.
Common Injuries Caused By Scaffolding Accidents
When a worker falls even a few feet or is hit by an object that has fallen from scaffolding, the injuries that are most commonly sustained include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury: The brain is fragile and when damaged, the patient may have issues with vision, hearing, memory, speech, and even their fine motor skills.
- Spinal Damage: A back injury is one of the most painful and debilitating injuries that can occur. Lifelong pain, partial or full paralysis, impaired motion, and numbness are just a few of the issues that are experienced by those with a back injury.
- Damage To Vital Organs: When a worker falls off of scaffolding they have no control over where or how they will land. The impact along can cause a rupture or bruising of an internal organ. If impalement occurs, the damage will be much worse.
- Broken Bones: A broken bone may not seem like a big deal but can cost thousands of dollars in medical care and may have a lasting impact on the ability to perform work duties.
Each of these injuries is expensive to treat. So how can a scaffolding accident victim recover compensation that will allow them to get the best care possible for the rest of their life?
Scaffolding Accidents: Lawsuits vs Workers’ Comp
When it comes to scaffolding, OSHA has set standards that must be complied with while erecting and using the scaffolding. A few examples of the general requirements for scaffolding set forth by OSHA include:
- Each section of the scaffold and scaffold component will be capable of bearing 4 times the anticipated weight of the loads that will be placed on it.
- Each platform will be fully planked so that there is no more than 1 inch between planks.
- Every scaffold walkway will be at least 18 inches wide.
- Lean-to scaffold is NOT permitted.
- Employees may not walk on scaffolding that is covered in snow or ice.
A full set of dozens of scaffolding regulations can be found on OSHA’s website.
The reality is that construction is booming and construction workers are in high demand. In order to save companies time and money, many employers push for employees to skip steps when it comes to building, using, and dismantling scaffolding. Skipping these necessary steps puts construction workers in danger and causes serious accidents to happen.
When a construction worker is injured on the job, they have the right to apply for workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This insurance is supposed to pay for the medical treatments that relate to the work injury and, if necessary, a fraction of lost earnings.
Employers are required by law to have coverage for their employees. If they do not, they risk a construction accident lawsuit. But construction accident lawsuits are not only filed against negligent employers. These civil lawsuits can also be filed against a negligent third-party and are an opportunity to recover full compensation for lost wages, medical bills, physical pain, and emotional trauma.
It’s also important to remember that innocent bystanders come into contact with poorly constructed scaffolding on a daily basis. Anyone who is hurt in a scaffolding accident, even a passing pedestrian on the street, has the right to take legal action against the responsible party.
Can Workers’ Compensation Claims & Civil Lawsuits Be Filed At The Same Time?
Yes, it is possible to file both a workers’ compensation claim and a construction accident lawsuit at the same time. They two are separate claims.
How Do I Choose An Attorney?
When you’re fighting for compensation after a construction accident involving scaffolding, choosing the right attorney is one of the most important decisions you will need to make. You’ve likely performed an internet search for “workers’ comp lawyers near me” or “scaffolding accident attorneys near me”. But how do you pick the law firm that is best for you and your family?
It’s important to speak with several law firms so that you can feel confident that you’ve made the right choice. Ask questions such as:
- Have you worked on scaffolding accidents before?
- Can you show me examples of successful verdicts and settlements?
- What are your fees and how do you collect them?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Who will be working on my case directly?
At Schuster Law, we are proud to have helped thousands of clients win their cases and secure the compensation that they are owed. We will happily answer all of these questions and any others you may have. Contact us today to get started.