Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and scaffolding accidents are one of the main culprits. Many workers who are injured in scaffolding accidents are entitled to workers’ compensation, but other cases require the worker to file a personal injury lawsuit if they want to receive compensation for their injuries. Here, we focus on what you need to know about scaffolding accidents and situations involving personal injury lawsuits.
Regulations for Scaffold Safety
Many states publish their own scaffold safety standards, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the main authority on scaffolding regulations. Here are just a few of OSHA’s safety regulations that are frequently violated and lead to injuries.
- Never use loose objects like barrels or bricks to support a scaffold
- Don’t allow debris, tools or other materials to accumulate on a scaffold
- If there is work being done above the scaffolding, you must have overhead protection
- Scaffolds need to be able to hold at least four times the anticipated weight
- Planks must have an overlap of at least 12 inches
- Planks must extend 6-18 inches beyond their end supports
- Never use lean-to scaffolds or shore scaffolds
Filing Lawsuits for Scaffolding Accidents
Scaffolding accidents are a type of construction accident, so filing a lawsuit against the construction company requires that you prove three main elements.
1. The defendant was responsible for the safety of the workers.
The party responsible for providing safety to construction workers varies. Generally, anyone at the construction site that holds decision-making power, directs or oversees work is responsible for the safety of the workers. Additionally, anyone who provides maintains or moves the scaffolding has a duty to keep the construction site safe for the workers.
2. The defendant breached their duty to provide safety.
If a scaffolding accident injures a worker, there is usually some safety regulation that has been breached. It may be an OSHA standard that was breached, or it could be a widely accepted industry standard. Either way, someone failed to maintain the safety of the scaffolding.
3. This breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
As with most all personal injury cases, it’s not enough to prove that someone was negligent. You must also prove that their negligence caused your injuries. If you already have a back injury and fall off a scaffold, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit against the construction company since the fall didn’t actually cause your back issue. However, if your fall exacerbated your pre-existing back issue, you should be able to hold the company liable for your worsened medical condition.
Consult an Attorney at Disparti Law Group
Negotiating a settlement with the defendant and even taking your case to trial is tricky business. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that your lawsuit is in order and that you receive appropriate compensation for your injuries. Disparti Law Group has offices across the country, and our professional attorneys are here to help you do just that.