Skylight Fall Accidents
Skylight Fall Accident Lawyers
Roofers, contractors, and property owners falling through skylights and roof openings are at risk of suffering many skylight injuries or death. OSHA reports approximately a thousand skylight falling deaths occur every year in thousands more severely injured.
Are you the victim of a skylight fall, or did you lose a loved one in a wrongful death caused by another's negligence? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure your family receives the financial compensation they deserve.
Contact our construction accident injury attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All information you share with our law offices remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
Many commercial properties and residential homes are constructed with skylights that provide natural sunlight and energy savings. However, the skylight must have adequate fall protection safeguards to protect anyone on the roof from falling.
In recent years, the NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) analyzed and studied the issue of falling through skylights and enacted safeguarding regulations to protect workers on roofs.
Skylights provide many benefits to homeowners and commercial properties, including natural light, fresh air, and energy savings (energy star savings). The units let in light, warmth, and a rich sense of environment.
Defective skylights, malfunctioning skylight screens, skylight fiberglass panels, missing screen grating, and protective screens, along with a lack of fixed covers and exterior bars, could pose a risk. These problems have caused severe, consequential fall accidents, especially new and replacement skylights on construction sites.
Many skylight accidents are caused by the construction company failing to install/repair the skylight correctly or provide workers with adequate fall prevention equipment.
Numerous legal options are available to recover financial compensation under the law. Our team of national trial lawyers will provide a free consultation to review your rights and see what financial compensation might be possible.
Our clients typically have any number of skylights, including tubular skylights, Velux skylights, fixed skylights, glass skylights, venting skylights, and even roof windows in hallways, the living room, or other parts of the home.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Skylight Safety Guidance
The US Department of Labor identifies falling as one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational deaths. Falling on a construction site, building, or residential home accounts for approximately 8.0% of all on-the-job fatalities caused by trauma.
OSHA mandates every employee to use personal fall protection equipment and safety nets around the roof opening to avoid skylight falls. Safeguards effectively reduce accidents by preventing a slip and fall through the opening, leading to a skylight fatality.
Recent data from the US Department of Labor revealed preventable skylight deaths involving falls that include:
- Skylight fatal fall, July 2020 – OSHA reported a 49-year-old male construction worker tasked with repairing a leaking or poorly sealed skylight on a one-story commercial building fell through a different skylight, suffering blunt force traumatic injuries. The roofer hit the ground and died.
- Skylight fatality, June 2020 – A 37-year-old male worker walking in a stadium roof gutter fell through a skylight to the ground 110 feet below, leading to fatal abrasions, contusions, and bruises.
- Skylight fatality, April 2020 – A 39-year-old male construction company worker died at 4:45 PM while on the roof, removing metal roof panels during a warehouse demolition. The construction worker stepped through a collapsing fiberglass skylight, falling to the hard concrete surface 18 feet below, sustaining fatally traumatic injuries to the head, chest, and abdomen.
- Skylight fatal fall, March 2020 – A 62-year-old male construction company worker died at 3:30 PM while walking backward on a multi-company construction project when unrolling a 100 foot Argonne welding hose. The man fell through the skylight to his death, down to the concrete floor 20 feet below.
- Skylight fatality, March 2020 – OSHA reported a 26-year-old male construction company worker died at noon while re-roofing a one-story warehouse. The man fell through the skylight down to the surface 25 feet below and was killed.
- Skylight fatal fall, March 2020 – A 39-year-old male worker cleaning debris from a roof fell through an unprotected gin building skylight, landing on the concrete floor. The laborer was pronounced dead at 10:20 AM.
- Skylight fatality, January 2020 – OSHA reported a 23-year-old male steel erection company worker and other employees were re-roofing a recycling center when stepping backward on a 1:12 pitch roof through the skylight to the concrete surface 16 feet below. The laborer struck his head on the floor during the fall and died.
- Skylight fatality, January 2020 – A 43-year-old male multi-company construction project worker died while renovating a one-story commercial building when on the roof removing metal roofing sheets. The employee walked to another area on the roof, falling through the skylight to the concrete surface 14 feet below. The worker succumbed to his injuries.
- Skylight death, December 2019 – OSHA reported a 34-year-old male construction company worker preparing to reroof a two-story commercial building climbed to the roof on a ladder to assess the skylights and direct the crane. While preparing to lift building materials, the worker stepped back and fell through a skylight, falling 30 feet to the concrete surface. The fall caused multiple fatal injuries.
- Skylight fatal fall, December 2019 – A 58-year-old HVAC company employee installing a commercial building AC blower fell through an unguarded skylight to the surface 27 feet below. Emergency medical technicians transported the injured worker to the local hospital for external trauma and multiple skull fracture injuries. However, the man died at the hospital later that day.
- Skylight fatality, November 2019 – A 57-year-old male worker died at 1:30 PM after falling through an unguarded skylight while removing asbestos-containing flashing on the roof. The man suffered a fractured skull when hitting the concrete flooring 30 feet below and succumbed to his injuries.
- Skylight death, November 2019 – OSHA reported a 58-year-old male employee fell through a skylight while retrieving an extension cord, landing on a roof vent that collapsed, causing the worker to fall 29 feet below at 10:30 AM. The fall led to fatal skull fractures.
Different Types of Skylights in Buildings across Chicago
Contractors install skylights in residential and commercial buildings for numerous reasons, including better air circulation, roof entry, natural sunlight, and better views.
Skylight manufacturers offer different styles, including tubular (with a dome), fixed (with a solid perimeter frame), and ventilated (with a hinge to allow for opening). Each skylight type requires the installer to use expert care during installation and maintenance.
While skylights do not need ongoing care, the skylight curb mounds require attention to avoid serious problems that could lead to severe accidents. Proper installation can better protect the worker from an accident and the property owner from liability.
Contact us immediately for more information on sun tunnels, aging, or defective skylights that could cause significant injuries. Skylights that could cause accidental problems might include:
- Tubular skylights
- Venting skylights
- Velux skylights
- Velux sun tunnel
- Fixed skylights
- Glass skylights
Severe Skylight Injuries Happen in Chicago
Typically, fall accidents happen in the roofing process during building construction and skylight installations. Skylight accidents are often the result of substandard safety measures, including a lack of skylight safety guards, lighting, rails, signs, and other fall hazard preventative measures required by OSHA.
During this interim period, many construction workers, roofers, other employees, and anyone with roof access risk falling through a skylight. Yet, even after their construction, skylights remain a source of danger and could continually cause problems.
Many unsuspecting victims suffer the most severe skylight injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, fractures, broken bones, spinal cord damage, organ damage, internal injuries, cuts, lacerations, and contusions. Typically, skylight death occurs from a significant fall hazard like when the skylight breaks underneath the anchor, during roof repairs, or a lack of surrounding support beams when replacing aging or leaking skylights due to the material's considerable weight.
If you have been involved in a Chicago skylight accident, get medical attention quickly to determine the full extent of your injuries.
Illinois Skylight Accident Facts and Figures
- Hundreds of thousands of skylights in the United States have been installed in Chicago area residential homes in commercial properties.
- Dozens of fatal skylight accidents occur each year.
- Thousands of skylight accidents with severe injuries occur annually.
- Most skylight accidents with severe injuries involve fractures, herniated discs, concussions, and soft tissue damage.
- Many skylight deaths and injuries happen to employees working on a roof.
- Skylight accidents can cost tens of thousands of dollars for each case due to medical expenses, property damage, and related costs.
Making Skylight Installations Safer for Chicago Workers
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the US Department of Labor mandate that all construction companies must follow to ensure everyone's safety, including workers, residents, or the building owner.
These guidelines include:
- Cover skylights with a dome or other material
- Limit access to the roof through locks, fences, or other devices
- Erect signs that alert people to the presence of skylights
- Use an anchor and body harness whenever in the vicinity of a skylight
- Place handrails and other safeguards near skylights
- Inform and instruct people about the presence of skylights and how to avoid accidents.
If you have any questions about how you better prevent skylight accidents, contact our offices at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number). Our team of skylight injury attorneys helps victims of these incidents.
Personal Fall Arrest Systems Save Lives
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction workers and roofers must wear a personal fall arrest system that prevents employees from falling from the roof.
The personal fall protection systems are designed with a connector, anchor, and body harness that stops falls through a harness attached to a lifeline.
Many systems are equipped with the lanyard, a flexible line of strapping, wire, or rope that connects the body harness to the anchor. Other systems use a flexible lifeline or positioning system that allows the employee to stay in one position hands-free.
All employees working at any height must use personal fall arrest systems after receiving proper training to know how to use the anchor, body harness, and connectors properly.
The training provides valuable information on how to properly attach the connecting device to the anchor point, including:
- Never working directly under the anchor to prevent swinging or striking objects when falling
- Ensuring that the line from the anchor point to the body harness is shorter than the fall to the lower level
- Never allowing a skylight installer to attach multiple lanyards to the same anchor point
- A properly fitted and used fall arrest system and catch platforms can avoid serious injuries during a fall
Bring a Claim for Financial Compensation After a Skylight Accident in Illinois
Winning an Illinois skylight injury case requires proving the four elements that some business or someone's negligence caused the plaintiff's harm. These elements include:
- The defendant had a duty to provide the victim with safety
- The defendant breached their duty
- The defendant can be held responsible if their breach of duty led to the victim's damages
- The victim's damages are actual and provable
Each element requires factual and legal contentions underpinning them. After the victim files a civil lawsuit, they can enter settlement negotiations. This out-of-court conference can expedite the settlement and short-circuit a lengthy trial process entailing unforeseen hurdles and risks.
A personal injury attorney working on behalf of the victim can provide legal advice and options on how to proceed against filing an insurance claim against any relevant insurance company to maximize their compensation.
Our group of personal injury lawyers helps construction workers and other victims obtain the maximum financial compensation Illinois law allows. Our law firm has extraordinary experience and commitment to helping people move on from these events. Let's discuss your right to recover from your harm during a free consultation.
The Value of Chicago Skylight Accident Cases
The value of any case in Illinois is typically determined by the plaintiff's economic and non-economic damages. Typically, this is broken down into two main baskets of recovery.
First: the plaintiff's expenses.
Skylight accident victims can pursue financial compensation for all of the costs that the incident caused them out of pocket (economic) like medical bills, lost wages, personal property damages, etc.
Second: the plaintiff's suffering.
Skylight accident victims may seek financial compensation for the pain and other intangible (non-economic) harm the event created like disability, long-term suffering, reduced life quality, etc.
To understand what your Chicago skylight accident case may be worth, speak with one of our personal injury lawyers today.
3 Steps You Need to Take after a Skylight Accident in Chicago
The steps a Chicago skylight accident victim takes early on can protect their health and legal rights. The victim should first seek medical attention to understand the extent of their injuries and accurately record what will be required to heal completely.
Next, the victim should write down exactly what happened before their memory fades on minute details. Lastly, contacting an experienced Chicago skylight accident law firm can help victims avoid mistakes, speed up their claims process, and save time and money to resolve their cases.
If you have any other questions about what to do after falling from a skylight, use our contact form or call us today. We can help!
Skylight Accident Frequently Asked Questions
The questions below address some of the more commonly encountered situations by individuals and families following a skylight accident in Illinois. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our law office and discuss your case with one of our attorneys.
What OSHA Regulations Govern Construction and Installation of Skylights to Protect Workers?
Recognizing the dangers, the installation and replacement of skylights on residential and commercial properties, OSHA requires each skylight opening hole to be guarded by a screen or fixed railing on all sides to protect workers from falling through the opening. See 29 CFR* 1910.23(a)(4)].
Can Skylight Holes be Used to Dispose of Construction Debris?
Disposing construction debris through a skylight whole requires a completely enclosed chute protected by barricades as specified by OSHA regulation 1926.252 (Disposal of waste materials).
Who are Potential Defendants in a Skylight Fall Lawsuit?
Workers injured in accidents and who suffered severe skylight injuries or surviving family members of employees killed in skylight accidents likely have legal rights to pursue compensation for their injuries and lost wages from every responsible party.
Depending on the circumstances involved, an injured worker could pursue a claim against the general contractor, sub-contractors, architects, engineers, and the skylight manufacturer.
Ascertaining which parties are responsible usually requires a consultation with an experienced construction site accident lawyer as soon as feasible to review all legal options, including filing a Workers Compensation claim.
How Long Do You Have to File a Skylight Fall Case Involving a Serious Injury or Death?
The Illinois State Legislature enacts laws including the statute of limitations that restrict the amount of time a victim can file a personal injury lawsuit or workers' compensation claim seeking financial compensation from all parties responsible for causing the accident involving damages.
Typically, the statute allows the victim to file a claim or lawsuit within two years from when the accident occurred that led to their damages.
However, there are often extenuating circumstances that could extend the time limit to file a claim. Only a competent attorney specializing in premises liability law can determine the length of time the victim can file.
Personal Injury Lawyers Specializing in Midwest and Chicago Skylight Accidents
Were you or a family member injured in a skylight accident, or did you lose a loved one through the wrongful death of another? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers help our clients resolve skylight accident lawsuits.
Our legal team serves as advocates committed to pursuing relief and financial compensation for Chicago area accident victims. Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
We understand that most families are not financially able to hire an attorney and accept all cases on a contingency fee basis to avoid the need for any upfront payment until the case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.
Our national trial lawyers represent clients in various practice areas, including car crashes, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, nursing home abuse, defective medications, product liability, and wrongful death.