Chicago Scaffolding Accident Lawyer
When scaffolding is not secure or erected correctly, the structures can become unstable or collapse resulting in serious injury or death to construction workers.
Statistics Relating to Scaffolding Accidents on Construction SitesThe Department of Labor tracks how many workers in the United States work on scaffolding on a yearly basis. Nearly two thirds of construction workers employed in the United States will work on a scaffold at one or more times in a given year.
This translates to roughly 2.5 million workers who are on scaffolds every year. When a large number of people work on something that can be as inherently dangerous as a scaffold, there is the potential for a high amount of accidents each year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that, in 2017, there were approximately 5,000 workers each year who were injured in scaffold accidents. Included in these injuries were roughly 70 fatalities. In 2019, the BLS reported that there were about 60 deaths in scaffold accidents.
How are Chicago Scaffold Injuries Caused?The most common type of injury that results from a scaffold is when the planking on the scaffold gives way and the person on top of the scaffold falls.
Scaffold collapses and ladder accidents may be caused by a number of factors including:
- Defective parts and equipment
- Improper construction
- Lack of safety features and equipment
- Inadequate fall protection
- Warn out planking
- Negligent design or improper equipment for the job
Types of Scaffolding Injuries in IllinoisThe nature and extent of a scaffolding injury depends on the height of the fall and the manner in which the worker lands.
Many scaffolding falls result in serious injuries such as:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): If a construction worker falls from a scaffold from a significant height they may strike their head resulting in head trauma.
- Fractured Bones: Victims of a scaffolding fall risk fracturing bones due to the impact with the ground or when they brace themselves from the fall.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: A sudden fall from a scaffold can cause trauma to a worker's back and neck resulting in a spinal cord injury or paralysis.
- Death: Unfortunately, approximately 60 workers die in falls from on scaffolding structures each year.
Common Causes of Chicago Construction Accidents on Elevated Structures
- In some cases, employers will try to cut corners when providing scaffolding for employees to use on the job. They may use scaffolds that are defective or have not been properly inspected in an attempt to save money.
- In other cases, employers will not invest what they need to in employee safety training in an attempt to keep a project moving on schedule and to save money.
- In some companies’ view, time spent training employees is less time that they can be working on the job. Thus, they cut back on training and throw less trained workers on scaffolds.
- It is difficult for many companies to find construction laborers, especially when the economy is strong. Companies may hire workers who are less skilled and are more likely to fall from a scaffold.
Occupational Safety Regulations to Protect Construction WorkersThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a complete set of safety equipment regulations that are intended to provide rules for nearly every aspect of the use of a scaffold in the construction industry.
Here are some of the safety precautions with which employers must comply with when scaffolds are used on a construction site:
- Guardrails must be between 38 and 45 inches high.
- Scaffold footings must be level and capable of supporting the loaded scaffold.
- Scaffolds and scaffold components must support at least 4 times the maximum intended load.
- Use of fastening pins to secure the scaffold to the structure.
- Employers must train each employee who works on a scaffold on the hazards and the procedures to control the hazards.
An employer has the responsibility to their workers to not only follow these rules themselves, but to also make sure that the employee adheres to these regulations.
The failure of an employer to follow an OSHA regulation is often an issue in a scaffolding collapse lawsuit.
When an employer receives a citation for not complying with OSHA rules, it is considered by the jury at trial and can be evidence that the employer was negligent.
Federal regulations give the worker a right to a safe workplace free from harm and that applies to scaffolds.
In addition to federal regulations, many states have their own scaffold laws. For example, New York has laws that require employers to follow safety measures when employees are working at heights.
Fall Protection Measures in the United StatesNot only is it against the law to not provide the proper fall protection measures, but it greatly increases the risk that a worker will be critically injured when working on a scaffold. Many scaffold injuries can be prevented by using the proper fall protections.
This can include the use of a safety harness which is properly tied down. In addition, scaffolding should have guardrail that will prevent workers from falling off the sides.
Who is Responsible for a Scaffold Accident?In many instances, it will be the employer who is responsible and liable for the accident. However, if the accident was caused by falling debris, the party who was responsible for the falling debris, if it is different from the employer, may also be liable for the injuries.
The defendant in a Chicago scaffolding injury lawsuit may try to argue that the worker was responsible for their own injury because they were not taking the proper safety measures. While courts may sometimes find that the plaintiff was at fault for their injuries, a lack of proper safety training may also be an issue in a lawsuit.
The court will likely look at both the safety conditions as well as what the worker was doing at the time of the injury in deciding whether the defendant should be made to pay for the plaintiff’s injuries.
How Much is My Chicago Scaffold Accident Case Worth?
After the liability aspects of a scaffolding accident have been established, the injured party can address damages if their accident was a result of the negligence of a third-party (not their direct employer)
Most Chicago construction injury cases are comprised of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are fixed expenses that you have incurred or will likely incur in the future. Components of economic damages include medical expenses and lost wages.
Non-economic damages include compensation for intangible losses. In scaffolding accidents involving serious injury, a worker can make a claim for past and future pain and suffering and disability.
In fatal scaffolding accidents, the family of the deceased worker can make a wrongful death claim under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act to recover compensation for their loss of economic and emotional support.
In addition to the above damages, a person injured in a scaffolding accident in Illinois, can recover workers' compensation benefits for medical benefits and lost wages while they are unable to work.
If you have questions about your legal options contact our scaffold accident lawyers for a free case consultation.
Sample Chicago Scaffold Accident SettlementOur Chicago construction accident lawyers were successful in obtaining a $4.25 million dollar settlement for the family of a mason who fell 20 feet from a scaffold on the exterior of a factory that was under construction in Northern Illinois.
Unfortunately, the injuries caused our client's death.
Our firm was able to establish that the negligence of both the general contractor and architects for the project were negligent in failing to provide required fall protection for the deceased.
The proceeds from the settlement were paid to the man's family in Mexico.
Have Your or Your Loved One Been Injured in a Chicago Scaffold Accident? Get Legal Help Now.The Chicago scaffolding accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can handle your scaffold injury case and any of your other industrial or construction accident cases.
We know how to investigate and prosecute construction injury and workers compensation cases to determine the responsible parties and hold them fully accountable for your injuries.
Our law offices can help you at all phases of your case, from filing your lawsuit to taking it to trial if necessary.
As with all of our law office's personal injury matters, we handle scaffolding accident cases on a contingency fee where we only receive a fee when we have obtained a recovery for you and engaged in an attorney client relationship.
Call us or chat with us online to set up your free consultation.
Our Chicago, IL scaffolding accident lawyers are proud to serve people across Illinois in areas such as: Cook County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County and Lake County. We look forward to discussing your legal rights via a phone conference to comply with Covid-19 precautions.