Even with every modern safety device and procedure, life-threatening construction site accidents are not uncommon. In May 2017, for example, an overloaded second floor scaffold collapsed at a construction site in Oakland, injuring 12 workers who were on or near the scaffold when it fell. California workers who are injured in such accidents can protect their rights to legal reparations by aligning with an experienced scaffold accident lawyer at Salamati Law.
Our veteran Los Angeles construction accident attorneys have a thorough understanding of the engineering and regulations that govern construction work scaffolds, and they regularly utilize that knowledge to establish liability and secure maximum monetary damages from negligent parties.
Common types of scaffolding accidents
At Salamati Law, our attorneys are experienced handling all types of construction accidents involving scaffold-related injuries, including:
- Collapsing Scaffolds: Collapses are not the only source of scaffold injuries at construction sites, although as the recent Oakland reveals, a collapsing scaffold will typically cause injuries to multiple parties. By their nature, scaffolds are temporary structures that have specific weight limitations and construction requirements. Contractors should also inspect scaffolds regularly to confirm their structural soundness. Construction site operators may be liable for a worker’s injuries if they fail to fulfill these obligations.
- Falling from Heights: Construction operators that do not provide adequate guardrails or safety lines on scaffolds may be responsible for injuries suffered by a worker who falls. The severity of injuries from scaffold falls cannot be understated. In 2009, for example, 54 workers died after falling from scaffolds.
- Falling Debris: Tools, construction materials, and other supplies should always be secured when they are used at elevated locations. A worker who is injured by a falling tool or building material will have a valid cause of action against the construction site operator. Scaffold accident statistics indicate that roughly 75 percent of all scaffolding injuries result from falls or falling debris.
- Electrocution: Power lines are raised above ground to prevent people from being electrocuted. Scaffolds bring workers into much closer proximity with power lines. Construction site operators need to be vigilant to keep a safe amount of space between scaffolding and any suspended power lines.
Scaffold accidents: When Worker’s Comp isn’t enough
California’s workers’ compensation benefits are generally the sole and exclusive source of monetary recovery for those who are injured on the job at a construction site. The State’s laws, however, provide a number of important exceptions to this exclusive rule.
- The “dual capacity” exception reflects a construction site operator’s multiple levels of duty to keep its employees safe from injuries. A duty that arises separately from the employer-employee relationship will give rise to a valid negligence cause of action that can add to the amount of damages that an injured employee can recover. A scaffold injury lawyer will know how to apply this exception to argue for a larger monetary award for elements such as lost wages and therapy costs.
- A construction site operator who fraudulently conceals a worker’s job-related injury may also be liable for damages that are in addition to workers’ compensation payments if the concealment further aggravated the injury.
- Employers that remove safety guards from power presses may also be liable for negligence in addition to workers’ compensation damages. This exception is not directly relevant to scaffold accidents, but it shows the importance of safety equipment that can prevent scaffold falls and injuries.
- A construction site operator who does not maintain workers’ compensation insurance will be civilly liable to an injured employee for the employee’s injuries.
The benefits afforded under workers’ compensation laws are generally limited, and the monetary value of those remedies is often inadequate to make an injured worker whole after a catastrophic scaffold pole accident. In some cases, a negligence claim may be brought against construction site owners, contractors, sub-contractors, or other parties that produced defective materials or scaffold equipment.
Salamati Law is committed to offering clients throughout Southern California the highest caliber of legal representation possible. We perform a thorough investigation, gather witness statements, collect medical records and consult with industry experts when preparing a scaffolding accident lawsuit. It is our mission to ensure that clients are justly compensated for their injuries, past and future medical bills, loss of earning capacity and other damages.
How a scaffolding accident attorney can help you
The most important thing that an injured worker can do after a scaffold fall is to tend to his or her recovery to the fullest extent possible. Your lawyer will take care of everything else, including:
- Investigating the construction site, the elements of the scaffold collapse or failure, and the injuries that resulted from the accident. Employers might cover up an accident and remove damaged scaffolding or materials quickly in order to get a construction site back up and running as quickly as is possible. A scaffolding accident lawyer will make sure that all relevant evidence is preserved.
- Filing a complaint within the Statute of Limitations. An injured party in California generally has two years to file a personal injury lawsuit after an accident. Failure to file within this time limit can prevent further recovery for injuries.
- Negotiating with insurance companies. A contractor’s workman’s comp insurance carriers will employ teams of lawyers who will try to minimize an injured party’s insurance recovery. Having a talented attorney in your corner is the best way to ensure your rights are protected.
- Identifying liable parties. Multiple contractors and tradesmen frequently work together at a single construction site. A worker who is injured in a scaffolding accident might be shuttled between a general contractor and any number of sub-contractors, including the company that leased and erected the scaffolding. Via meticulous investigations, your attorney will attach liability to appropriate parties and seek all avenues of legal recovery.
Scaffolding accident attorneys serving LA
The Los Angeles-based Salamati Law Firm will be your strongest advocate if you have suffered injuries in any type of California scaffolding or construction accident. We give your case the full amount of respect and attention it deserves and work tirelessly to recover the largest settlement or court award on your behalf. Set up a no-obligation consultation today with a scaffolding accident lawyer Los Angeles trusts.
Additional resources for victims of scaffolding injuries in California:
- Twelve Workers Injured at Oakland Construction Site Collapse. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/05/26/oakland-rescue-collapse-construction-emergency/
- Scaffolding Injuries in California. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/scaffolding-injuries-california
- California Personal Injury Laws & Statutory Rules: http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/laws-california.html