Construction sites are some of the most common locations for workplace accidents. Each year thousands of construction-related accidents occur resulting in serious physical injuries, with a significant number of such accidents proving fatal for those involved. According to the official statistics released by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), nearly 5,000 incidents occur each year due to scaffolding-related issues at construction sites. These scaffolding accidents are usually a result of multiple factors, including lapses in workplace safety.
If you or your loved one suffered serious physical injuries in a scaffolding-related construction site accident, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the parties responsible for creating unsafe conditions that led to the accident. Besides filing a workers’ compensation claim, pursuing a civil lawsuit against overtly negligent parties can ensure that you receive fair financial compensation for any financial damages resulting directly from the accident.
Causes of Scaffolding Accidents
Construction site accidents related to scaffolding can result from several causes, including:
- Unstable scaffolding that is not built to withstand the weight of a construction worker. It includes planks or supports of the scaffolding giving away under normal weight.
- Unsafe scaffolding that gets detached easily, has bad planking, or is not built according to appropriate safety standards.
- Falling objects at the construction site.
- Absence of safety equipment for workers at scaffoldings.
- Lack of adequate fall protection for scaffolding construction workers.
- Scaffolding in direct contact with electrical wires, resulting in electrocution.
- Slip and fall accidents at scaffoldings.
- The collapse of scaffolding towers.
- Substandard materials used for scaffolding.
Consequences of Scaffolding Accidents
These types of accidents can result in a wide range of physical injuries. Some of these injuries include:
Spinal Cord Damage and Paralysis
Falling from scaffolding can lead to vertebral column fractures and spinal cord damage. Depending on the height of the fall and landing, spinal cord damage can result in a spectrum of symptoms ranging from mild sensory loss to complete paralysis. Spinal damage is one of the most dangerous injuries due to the high risk of permanent incapacitation and death.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can result from the head hitting a solid surface, like the ground, after falling from an unstable or unsafe scaffolding. Head injuries almost invariably cause massive internal bleeding inside the skull, resulting in hemorrhagic stroke that can incapacitate a person for life, depending on its extent and severity. Even minor TBIs can leave residual neurological deficits, rendering a person unable to enjoy a healthy life.
Fractures of long and short bones can occur due to scaffolding accidents. Fractures can result in temporary or permanent incapacitation and may require expensive surgeries, years of physical rehabilitation, and ongoing medical treatment to restore a fraction of prior mobility. If a person gets handicapped due to such an accident, they can lose their job and might have to undergo occupational therapy and career change, both of which can have a drastic impact on their life.
Internal Bleeds and Organ Damage
Falling from a high scaffolding can result in massive internal bleeding within the abdominal cavity secondary to organ damage. Most such cases require extensive surgeries and depending upon the organ involved, normal function might not be fully restored despite complete treatment.
Filing a Lawsuit
When it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit related to scaffolding accidents, prompt action is necessary. The statute of limitations for such accidents varies between different states. After this period, no lawsuit related to a particular incident can be brought forth by a plaintiff. Therefore, it is necessary to hire an experienced lawyer who can represent your case to the best of their abilities.
Additionally, the more time passes, the more chances increase of there being irregular behavior by potential defendants to cover up evidence of the accident. Any eyewitness accounts of the incident are also more likely to hold up well in a court of law if the lawsuit is filed early. Taking swift action allows your legal team to build a defense that ensures maximum possible compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional damages.
If you got involved in a scaffolding construction site accident, you can file a lawsuit according to the Labor Law 240, which stipulates that a construction worker involved in such an accident must have been involved in building, demolition, repairing, painting, cleaning, altering, or erection of equipment at the time of the accident. Additionally, the worker must have either sustained a fall from a high structure or been struck by a falling object at the construction site.
Hiring an experienced attorney is one of the best ways to secure your legal rights in the wake of a construction site scaffolding-related accident. An experienced lawyer is highly likely to be familiar with all relevant state labor laws, helping support your case with credible evidence and ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your damages.