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Scaffolding Accidents

Hospital Patient WorriedScaffolding accidents are a very real threat to persons working on construction sites.  Roofing and other jobs requiring work at elevated heights create the circumstances in which scaffolding accident injuries and fatalities can occur, causing you and your family enormous pain and suffering.

When that happens, the Los Angeles construction accident attorneys of Ellis Law Corporation are here for you.  Our team of litigation experts can provide legal counsel and representation that deliver you the very best outcome in an unhappy and in some cases tragic situation.

Scaffolding accidents in California and nationwide

You only need to read the news to understand that in recent years California construction workers have been involved in a number of dangerous and life-threatening scaffolding accidents.

Take, for example, these recent headlines from our local papers:

  • “Worker Electrocuted, Another Hurt on Football Field of Mission Viejo High School”
  • “Three Workers Injured in Scaffolding Accident”
  • “Fatal accident snarls traffic from O.C. to L.A.”
  • “La Puente man dies in fall at Port of Long Beach”

When they happen, scaffolding accidents can be fatal.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) attributed 54 American deaths in 2009 to scaffolding accidents.  That is 54 too many fatalities—especially considering there are certain compliance standards enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that make scaffolding accidents largely preventable.  By OSHA’s admission, following correct safety standards whenever scaffolding is used can “save as many as 50 lives and prevent 4,500 accidents every year.”

A study by BLS found 72% of workers injured in scaffolding accidents could say they were hurt either because the scaffolding planking or support gave way or because the employee slipped or was hit by a falling object.  BLS studies in the mid 1990’s also showed that 25% or one quarter of workers injured in scaffold accidents had received no scaffold safety training, and that 77% of scaffolds were not equipped with guardrails.

Construction workers are not the only persons facing the prospect of serious injury in scaffolding accidents.  Passersby, too, can be jeopardized and seriously injured.

Types of scaffolding accidents and common injuries

OSHA performance-based criteria are thus in place to protect employees from scaffolding accidents that can include any of the following:

  • Falls
  • Falling objects
  • Structural instability
  • Electrocution
  • Overloading

The above scaffolding accidents can result in death or serious injuries such as:

  • Trauma to the head, such as a concussion or serious brain injury
  • Broken limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Wounds to major organs
  • Deep cuts

LA scaffolding accident liability issues

As a construction worker, you have a right to employer-provided protections of your health and safety.  For example, OHSA has instituted strict rules governing when fall protections should be in place: fall protections must therefore be in place for construction workers starting at 6 feet off the ground.

Your employer also has a responsibility to educate you about appropriate safety precautions when working with potentially dangerous scaffolding supports—and, to ensure that the equipment used to protect you is working properly and used appropriately.   When an employer does not take these legally required precautions and this negligence results in serious injuries to your person or death, your employer may be held liable and obliged to pay compensatory damages.Similarly, an employer is legally required to take adequate safety measures to ensure its equipment and scaffolding do not pose unnecessary dangers to passersby.

When you have legitimate reason to believe that the negligence of your employer or another contracting individual’s employer contributed to your injuries, you may seek damages through filing a personal injury lawsuit.

A winning personal injury claim must show that:

  • You were owed legally guaranteed safe treatment by your employer or another
  • Your employer or another failed to fulfill this duty
  • You were injured as the direct result of that negligence

In some cases, the equipment itself (rather than an incorrect handling of the equipment) may cause your injuries, so that the scaffolding support system you’re using proves defective.  In this case, the manufacturer of the scaffolding support system, rather than your employer, may deserve blame in a product liability claim.

When filing a product liability claim, you will need to show that the part or piece of equipment that contributed to your injuries was defective before its first use, that you were correctly following manufacturer instructions when you used the product, and that the product’s defect directly caused your injuries.

Eligibility for scaffolding accident compensation

If you have suffered on the job from a debilitating scaffolding accident, or have been hurt as a passerby, you may be able to file a claim against the offending party—in addition to receiving workers’ compensation.

Compensation for construction site injuries can include any or all of the following:

  • Compensation for missed work and lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Medical bills for hospitalizations, doctor visits and required therapies
  • Punitive damages (as a penalty for another’s negligence)

Finding the right Los Angeles construction accident attorney

Has a scaffolding accident left you seriously hurt, angry and looking for justice? At Ellis Law, our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are standing by to offer you wise, compassionate legal counsel, so you don’t have to be a voiceless victim—for your sake and for your family’s sake.  Call us today for a free, no-obligation legal evaluation at 1-800-INJURED.

  1. CBS News, “Worker Electrocuted, Another Hurt on Football Field of Mission Viejo High School,” http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/07/17/worker-electrocuted-another-hurt-on-football-field-of-mission-viejo-high-school/
  2. Los Angeles Daily News, ““Three Workers Injured in Scaffolding Accident,” http://www.dailynews.com/20100614/three-workers-injured-in-scaffolding-accident
  3. Orange County Register, “Fatal accident snarls traffic from O.C. to L.A.,” http://www.ocregister.com/articles/traffic-627376-accident-fatal.html
  4. Long Beach Press Telegram, “La Puente man dies in fall at Port of Long Beach,”http://www.presstelegram.com/general-news/20140219/la-puente-man-dies-in-fall-at-port-of-long-beach
  5. “Scaffolds,” OHSA Training Manual, http://www.bnl.gov/esh/shsd/pdf/scaffolds_c.pdf