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Scaffold Personal Injury Accidents

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:

Year Deaths
2022 56
2021 61
2020 59
2019 63
2018 61
2017 62
2016 57
2015 55
2014 50
2013 49
2012 54

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

We have seen a lot of cases involving workers who are using a rolling scaffold near unprotected holes.  The worker’s attention is usually high up, particularly during ceiling work.  The risk is that the scaffold moves enough for a wheel to roll into a hole.  This often causes the scaffold to overturn.
The dangers of rolling scaffolds and unprotected holes can be substantially eliminated if adequate safety precautions are used. A proper and adequate safety precaution is to cover or barricade holes in such a way that scaffold wheels cannot roll into the holes.

“Competent Person” 

There are OSHA rules about how that training is done or tested.  OSHA 1926.45 requires that for many large projects, there be a scaffold “competent person” on-site performing the duties of a scaffold “competent person”.
A “competent person” means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.
At the beginning of every shift, the scaffold “competent person” is responsible for inspecting every scaffold that will be used on that shift, and on this project, to put the colored scaffold tag on it, properly filled out.  If the “competent person” is not competent, this is often a source of mistakes that lead to injury.

Why Workers Compensation Settlement Amounts Are Less

Settlement amounts for scaffold accidents are influenced by whether the claim is a personal injury lawsuit or a workers’ compensation claim.  Comp claims generally see lower settlement amounts than civil lawsuits.  Why?

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.

More on Product Liability Lawsuits

Client Reviews
They quite literally worked as hard as if not harder than the doctors to save our lives. Terry Waldron
Ron helped me find a clear path that ended with my foot healing and a settlement that was much more than I hope for. Aaron Johnson
Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
The last case I referred to them settled for $1.2 million. John Selinger
I am so grateful that I was lucky to pick Miller & Zois. Maggie Lauer
The entire team from the intake Samantha to the lawyer himself (Ron Miller) has been really approachable. Suzette Allen
The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa
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