This page is about scaffold accident lawsuits.
Scaffold Accident Lawsuit Background
Scaffolds range from simple platforms supported by blocks to complex geometric-like structures. Many people, for example, construction workers (2.3 million) and window washers, use scaffolds in their everyday business. Others of us occasionally rent scaffolds for periodic home maintenance, and most of us, at some point, pass under scaffolds as we frequent businesses undergoing repairs.
In each of these situations, there is the potential for injury due to defective scaffolding. In fact, there are about 4,500 scaffolding-related injuries every year. Injuries may include abrasions, broken bones, electric shock, paralysis or even death when scaffolds fail.
Scaffold Accident Statistics
Here are scaffold injury death statistics for the United States over the last ten years:
In other words, too many people are dying on a scaffold.
Negligence and Product Liability Claims
The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) propounds guidelines for the use and construction of scaffolds in occupational settings. Employers who assemble pre-fabricated scaffolds must ensure that the scaffolds are properly built and safe.
There are three basic types of scaffolds: Supported scaffolds (built from the ground up), Suspended scaffolds (hung from ropes or other means from above), and Aerial lifts (vehicle-mounted devices that raise and lower workers). Most of these injuries result from inadequate planks and supports, slipping and falling objects. Proper scaffolds should eliminate or reduce the possibility of these types of accidents.
Whether defectively assembled, designed, or manufactured, scaffolding accidents may result from:
- Lack railings
- Inadequate railings
- Inadequate anchors
- Lack of safety warnings
- Inadequate decks and plating
- Improper fall protection
- Inappropriate scaffold for the intended weight
- Improper ropes and related equipment
- Improper storage
- Improper maintenance
- Welding defects
- Faulty ladders
Common Scaffold Injury Claim Scenarios
Why Workers Compensation Settlement Amounts Are Less
In personal injury lawsuits, the injured party can claim a wide array of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and sometimes punitive damages. There is no statutory cap in personal injury cases unless it is a state like Maryland with damage caps. This means plaintiffs could potentially receive a large settlement reflecting the full extent of their damages.
Workers’ compensation claims, however, are limited to specific benefits such as medical expenses related to the injury and a portion of lost wages, which are subject to state-specific maximums. Workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering or punitive damages, and the payments are often structured over time rather than given as a lump sum. This system also operates on a no-fault basis, meaning employees don’t need to prove their employer’s negligence to receive benefits, leading to lower compensation compared to personal injury lawsuits.
The workers’ compensation system’s design to quickly provide benefits without the need for litigation results in lower settlements because it is essentially a trade-off for the ease of filing and obtaining compensation. Additionally, there are strict legal limits on suing employers directly for workplace injuries, known as the exclusivity rule of workers’ compensation, which also contributes to generally lower settlements.
If the scaffold accident involves a third party’s fault, the injured worker may have the option to file a personal injury claim against that party, potentially leading to additional compensation beyond the workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact Our Law Firm
One thing is for sure: The intricacies of such cases often require the expertise of an attorney who is experienced in navigating these cases. This makes a difference in the outcome. You want the best scaffold injury lawyer you can find.
If you or someone you love has suffered a catastrophic injury or death, call our scaffold accident lawyers at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.