san bernardino Scaffolding accident lawyers
Inland Empire Scaffolding Accident Attorneys
Construction workers face many dangers on a day-to-day basis. Often, construction work is done on scaffolding, putting workers at risk of falls. When scaffolding is not properly installed or necessary safety measures are not taken, construction workers may be injured by falling debris or tools, or they may fall from extreme heights and be seriously injured. There are approximately 500,000 accidents every year in the construction industry, and around 100,000 of them are related to working on or around a scaffold.
About 2.3 million people, or 65% of all construction workers, perform their jobs high above the ground on scaffolding. This isn’t just builders and craftsmen, but also includes workers like painters and window washers. In some cases, especially in major urban centers, pedestrians on the ground below the construction site are also at risk. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a scaffolding accident, the San Bernardino workers’ compensation attorneys at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates are here to help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.
Injury Situations a San Bernardino Scaffolding Accident Lawyer Can Help
- Electrocution. When there are wires located overhead of the scaffolding, electrocution is a danger that workers must be concerned with. If the wires are not protected, they may cause a worker to be electrocuted. This type of accident can also lead to a fall, as the worker may pass out from the electrocution and fall from the scaffolding.
- Falling objects. Whenever work is being performed on scaffolding, there is a danger of objects falling or being dropped from above. There is often an additional risk of objects falling onto the scaffolding and causing it to collapse. If the scaffolding falls, workers on the platform can be infrared when they fall with it. Job sites are often littered with construction waste and debris, a common item that falls and injures workers.
- Collapses. If scaffolding is not installed correctly with the appropriate support, it may collapse and cause injuries. Building a scaffolding requires a great deal of care and skill, as a collapse will typically result in workers falling and being hurt. Although scaffolds are typically very strong, they do have weight limits, and a failure to heed these limits may cause a collapse. Workers must adhere to OSHA regulations when constructing scaffolding.
- Falls. Since scaffolding is a platform that elevates workers above the ground level to work on tall structures, they must be equipped with fall protection features. Guardrails are one of the measures that can be taken to protect workers from falling off a scaffold.
What Types of Scaffolding Injuries Are Most Common?
- Electrocution. In addition to coming into contact with overhead wires, workers are also at risk of unprotected wires coming into contact with the scaffolding itself. If this occurs, the metal scaffolding may act as a conduit for the electricity and electrocute workers on the platform.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and greatly alter the life of the worker who suffers them, as they can cause permanent paralysis. This is a danger in scaffolding accidents, as a fall from a high location will often cause trauma to the neck or back.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Workers often experience trauma to their brain if they fall from a scaffolding, but another danger includes objects that fall from the scaffolding and strike workers below. Depending on the job site’s location, individuals other than workers may be at risk of being struck by falling objects.
Scaffolding Accident Prevention Measures That Should Be Taken
There are federal, state, and local regulations in place that every employer should follow in order to prevent scaffolding accidents that may injure their workers and passersby. Some of the steps that employers should always take on job sites with scaffolding include:
- Barricading off the area immediately under the scaffold structure
- Being aware of the weight limits that the scaffolding requires and respecting that boundary by not having too many individuals or an excessive amount of equipment on the scaffolding
- Employing a fall-arrest system to protect workers
- Using guardrails on the scaffolding to protect workers from the risk of falling
- Using a canopy net, which is beneficial in catching items that may fall off of the scaffolding and protecting any workers or passersby who may be on the ground below the scaffolding
In a majority of scaffolding accident cases, a lack of proper guardrails is the cause of the injuries. It is common for contractors to think they are covered if they simply place guardrails on a few of the work platform’s sides, but this may be a fatal oversight. The work that employees perform on scaffolding structures requires all sides of the platform to be protected to ensure the safest work environment for employees. If employees cannot use every part of the work platform safely, then the scaffolding is a risk that should be avoided. Regular safety checks should be performed to ensure that OSHA guidelines are being followed properly, and employees should be aware of these checks. Some of the guidelines that OSHA requires on job sites that utilize scaffolding include the use of items like:
- Fastening pins
- Work Platform decking
- Side brackets
- Scaffold ties
- Base plates
- Mud sills
It is vital for construction companies to properly maintain their safety feature for equipment like scaffolding, no matter how expensive it may be or how unnecessary it may seem. If this equipment is not properly maintained, it is a violation of OSHA requirements and may lead to scaffolding accidents that can seriously injure workers or other individuals. When this occurs, even if the accident was only partially the result of a violation of OSHA guidelines, the employer may be liable. Scaffolding accidents are most commonly caused by the following:
- Negligence in properly maintaining equipment of providing proper supervision
- Inadequate protection from falls
- Lack of proper safety features and equipment
- Improper construction
- Defective equipment
Even a fall from low scaffolding can result in devastating injuries. These falls may be tied to other types of construction accidents as well. For example, a worker may have fallen from scaffolding because the scaffolding was hit by a crane or another piece of heavy equipment.
Not all scaffolding accidents are falling accidents. Workers may be injured because improperly assembled, or defective scaffolding fell on top of them. Accidents may also involve tools, construction materials, and other objects being dropped off of scaffolding and landing on top of workers. Whatever the cause, if the fall happened at work, the victim is eligible for workers’ compensation. Our lawyers have decades of combined experience pursuing benefits for injured workers in San Bernardino and throughout California’s Inland Empire.
How Should You Proceed if You Are in a Scaffolding Accident?
If you are injured in a scaffolding accident, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. After you have received any necessary treatment, you should gather any evidence that you can from the accident scene. Photographs of the equipment involved and the actual accident scene can be vital in pursuing legal action in your case. You must report the details of the accident to the property owner and the construction company, then seek the assistance of an experienced scaffolding accident lawyer.
Construction workers are faced with various dangers on the job site every day. In order to prevent accidents, it is crucial to use the proper equipment and that it is installed correctly in a safe place. If the individuals who build a scaffolding are not trained properly in correct installation practices, it can be detrimental to workers and other individuals in the vicinity.
The construction field is a treacherous work environment, often involving working at great heights on scaffolding. Accidents on this type of job site are preventable if proper measures are taken. However, contractors and developers often ignore rules and regulations to complete the job more quickly. When you hire San Bernardino scaffolding accident lawyers, they are able to determine who is responsible for the accident and help you to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Why Call a Scaffolding Accident Attorney?
The reason many individuals avoid contacting a legal professional after being injured in a scaffolding accident is because their employer’s insurance company is already providing them with workers’ compensation, and they mistakenly believe that they are not able to bring a legal claim against the at-fault party.
While it is true that receiving workers’ compensation will prevent you from filing a legal case against your employer, it is possible that your injuries were caused by a negligent third party. This may include manufacturers, property owners, subcontractors, general contractors, and even delivery drivers that may be liable for the injuries you have suffered.
Your scaffolding accident injuries have likely caused a severe financial burden that workers’ compensation is not sufficient to cover. For this reason, it is vital to reach out to a skilled scaffolding accident attorney if you or a loved one have been injured in such a scenario. An experienced attorney will be able to tell you if there is third-party liability in your unique circumstance.
How to Know If You Deserve More Than Workers’ Comp Can Provide
When an individual is injured on a construction site or any other job, workers’ compensation is typically the only monetary compensation they receive for their troubles. However, California state law does provide a few exceptions that an attorney can help to guide you through. Consider the following unique circumstances.
- An employer with no workers’ comp insurance. Construction companies, like all employers, are required to carry this insurance. Failure to do so could mean that they are civilly liable for your injuries.
- Construction workers who fraudulently hide a worker’s injuries. This practice may further aggravate the injuries that the individual has suffered, making the employer liable for additional damages to workers’ compensation payments.
- “Dual capacity” exception. This cause of action may add to the amount of compensation that an employee may recover, depending on the specifics of the circumstance. An experienced scaffolding injury attorney will know whether this applies to your case and will be able to argue for a greater monetary award for items like therapy costs and lost wages.
Although workers’ compensation is a great benefit in many cases, the monetary compensation it provides is often inadequate to cover all of the losses a worker faces after a scaffolding accident. Your lawyer will help you to determine whether negligence claims may be brought against other parties that may have some responsibility for your injuries.
The San Bernardino scaffolding accident lawyers at Kampf, Schiavone, & Associates are skilled, compassionate attorneys who understand the burden you feel by the financial and emotional toll your scaffolding accident has taken on you. We know that the medical bills you have accrued have likely placed a great strain on your ability to cover your monthly expenses. We also know that your family and loved ones have likely had to manage these expenses while also getting you to doctor and physical therapy appointments and caring for you while you have been recovering. For this reason, it is vital to seek the help of an attorney who can help you to navigate the complicated legal issues involved with your case.
Depending on the details of your personal injury claim, there may be documents and legal motions that must be filed by a certain date, or Statute of Limitations. By hiring a lawyer right away, you can be sure that you don’t miss any of these important dates and lose your right to collect benefits and compensation for all of your injuries. By scheduling an appointment with one of our caring and knowledgeable attorneys, you can discover the details of your personal injury or wrongful death case and decide how you wish to proceed.
To schedule your initial consultation about a scaffolding accident with one of our skilled attorneys, reach out to us at our 24-hour toll-free number — 866-748-1645. You can also get in touch with us via email. Home and hospital room visits are available to those whose injuries prevent travel. Se habla español.