Scaffolding injury lawyer

A scaffold is a temporary structure frequently used on construction sites. This platform supports workers and equipment during construction or repair work. However, scaffolding is more than just a building framework – it is a lifeline for construction workers. When scaffolding is poorly built or maintained, this can lead to devastating injuries and even fatalities.

The frequency of scaffolding accidents in the US is distressingly high. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ranks scaffolding incidents among the top 10 leading causes of injuries in construction. According to OSHA, about 4,500 injuries and 60 fatalities related to scaffolds take place in the US annually.

Construction workers need to know how to get compensation in case of an injury. At Siegfried & Jensen, we are dedicated to helping those affected by scaffolding injuries get fair compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our scaffolding injury attorneys.

Common Types of Scaffolding Structures

In the United States, various types of scaffolding are used in construction projects.

Common types of scaffolding are:

  • Supported scaffolding: Composed of a series of platforms supported by load-bearing frames, poles, or similar support.
  • Suspended scaffolding: Platforms suspended by non-rigid overhead supports or ropes that allow workers to access elevated areas.
  • Mobile scaffolding: A type of supported scaffold with wheels or casters which allow for easy movement around a job site.
  • System scaffolding: A scaffold made with components that can be conveniently assembled or disassembled to create various arrangements.

Why Do Scaffolding Accidents Happen?

Scaffolding hazards generally fall into four categories. These are:

  1. Being struck by tools or falling items
  2. Electrocution
  3. Falling from an elevated position
  4. Scaffold collapse

Depending on the circumstances, there may be more than one cause of the incident in question. Below are some of the most common causes of scaffolding accidents.

Improper installation and maintenance

Scaffolding must be installed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The structure should also be up to code with industry regulations. Poor installation or neglected maintenance can lead to structural weakness, posing a risk to worker safety.

Inadequate training and supervision

Training and ongoing supervision are required for all workers on the construction site – especially those responsible for assembling, dismantling, and working on the scaffolding. Without proper training and supervision, workers might engage in unsafe practices.

Disregard for fall protection measures

It is important to follow safety protocols when working at elevated heights. Construction workers often use safety equipment like harnesses and guardrails to prevent falls. Failure to use these properly can lead to severe injuries and even death.

Environmental factors and overloading

Strong winds or heavy rains can compromise the stability of scaffolding structures and increase the risk of accidents. For this reason, OSHA safety standards prohibit working on or from scaffolds during storms or high winds. Employees can only continue working if a qualified person has assessed the structure’s safety and a fall protection system is in place.

Another factor that can compromise the stability of scaffolding is overloading. Loading the scaffold with equipment and workers beyond its capacity can lead to collapse and serious injury.

Injuries Due to Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding accidents can cause injuries that have lifelong consequences. Sometimes construction workers can never return to their line of work due to the terrible injuries suffered.

Falls from high places

Some of the most severe injuries in construction-related accidents are caused by falls from scaffolding.

Depending on the height of the fall and the surface below, these accidents can lead to traumatic injuries such as:

Crush injuries

When scaffolding collapses or when equipment falls from a platform, it can result in crush injuries. Workers beneath the debris may suffer severe damage to their internal organs. Additionally, workers caught in a collapse can suffer from crush syndrome.

Crush syndrome occurs when muscles are severely damaged by prolonged pressure or crushing. It leads to muscle breakdown and the release of harmful substances into the bloodstream. This condition can cause serious health problems, like kidney failure and shock.

Head injuries

Head injuries can have long-term effects that impact the victim’s ability to work and perform daily activities.

Workers who fall from scaffolding or are struck by falling objects may sustain traumatic head injuries, such as:

  • Concussions
  • Skull fractures
  • Intracranial hemorrhages

Safety Precautions for Workers

The Utah Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 requires Utah employers to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. The workplace must be free from dangers that could cause death or serious injury to workers. Employers, supervisors, and workers using scaffolds must follow OSHA regulations.

OSHA’s regulations address:

  • Design and construction standards
  • Inspection requirements
  • The use of personal fall protection equipment

State laws provide protection for construction workers, in addition to OSHA regulations. These safety standards may include mandatory scaffold inspections and hazard instruction. Adherence to distance requirements from electric power lines and guardrail installation may also be required.

If you have been injured in a scaffolding accident, seek legal guidance from a Siegfried & Jensen lawyer. Our scaffolding injury attorneys can help you understand your rights under OSHA regulations.

Who Is Responsible for Scaffolding Accidents?

Determining who is responsible for a scaffolding accident can be quite complex, as there may be several parties involved. Liability may vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. An investigation may need to be carried out to determine who was responsible for the design, installation, and maintenance of the scaffolding. Responsibility for worker supervision must also be decided.

Parties who may be liable for scaffolding accidents include:

  • Employers
  • General contractors
  • Scaffolding manufacturers
  • Subcontractors
  • Property owners
  • Maintenance contractors
  • Workers or employees

Employers typically shoulder the responsibility for ensuring workplace safety and should oversee tasks like the proper setup and maintenance of scaffolding. However, liability may extend to third parties, like equipment rental companies or maintenance contractors – assuming that their negligence or misconduct played a role in the scaffolding accident.

Should You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

If you have sustained an injury, you may qualify to pursue both workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim. Workers’ compensation offers crucial benefits for immediate medical care and lost wages. A personal injury claim, on the other hand, helps the injured worker seek further compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.

The following is a breakdown of how workers’ compensation and personal injury claims work.

Workers’ compensation claims

Workers’ compensation provides benefits to injured employees, regardless of fault, and typically covers medical expenses, such as:

  • Hospital bills
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Prescription medications
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Partial wage replacement for time missed from work because of the injury

Unlike personal injury claims, workers’ compensation claims do not require proof of negligence. As long as the injury occurs during the course of employment, the injured worker is entitled to benefits. However, workers’ compensation benefits are limited and may not fully compensate the injured worker for all damages.

It is important to note that workers’ compensation benefits come with strings attached. In general, an employee waives his or her right to sue the employer for negligence by filing for workers’ benefits.

Personal injury claims

In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers may have the right to pursue a personal injury claim if a third party’s negligence caused the scaffold accident.

A personal injury claim allows the injured worker to seek compensation for damages not covered by workers’ compensation, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Unlike workers’ compensation cases, personal injury claims necessitate proving the defendant’s negligence in causing the accident and injuries. The laws and regulations governing workers’ compensation and personal injury claims vary by state. For this reason, you should consult a knowledgeable lawyer, such as the lawyers of Siegfried & Jensen, for reliable guidance.

Should You Hire a Scaffolding Injury Attorney?

Hiring a scaffolding injury attorney is advisable for injury victims. You could handle your claims case on your own, but that would be a challenge. Sometimes claims get denied, or compensation amounts reduced, for various reasons. Scaffolding injury lawyers are here to streamline the legal process for you.

An attorney can help you by:

  • Explaining the relevant laws and regulations in your state
  • Assessing the full extent of your damages and determining how much compensation you should receive
  • Providing investigative resources and experts to gather evidence and determine liability
  • Negotiating for a fair settlement that reflects the true value of your injuries and losses

Contact Our Experienced Utah Scaffold Injury Lawyers

Scaffolding injuries can be devastating and expensive to recover from. If you find yourself facing the harsh realities of a scaffolding accident in Utah, rest assured that the law is firmly on the side of personal injury victims. Receiving workers’ compensation after an accident may not be as easy as you hope, but Siegfried & Jensen can help.

Our team of scaffold injury attorneys is here to support you every step of the way. When we take on your case, we will put in our best effort to identify the responsible parties and prove their failure to ensure safe scaffolds for your work. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries and losses.

With a wealth of experience under our belts, we have successfully handled over 35,000 injury cases. We advocate fiercely on behalf of our clients, whether at the negotiation table or in the courtroom. Contact Siegfried & Jensen today to schedule a free initial consultation.