The construction business is one of the single most dangerous careers in the world. Construction workers suffer more deaths every year compared to most other industries, and the leading cause of these deaths is falling.
Generally speaking, when a worker falls due to unsafe scaffolding, workers’ compensation kicks in to cover the injuries. However, there are times when personal injury cases are more appropriate. Learn everything you need to know about scaffolding accidents, what constitutes negligence and why a South Carolina personal injury attorney is important.
Scaffolding Accidents and Injury
A significant percentage of construction-related lawsuits involves falling from unsafe scaffolds. Though workers’ compensation laws can serve to limit the damages that can be collected from these claims, there are some cases where traditional personal injury claims can result. These usually are related to situations where certain safety standards were not met.
Failure to Follow Safety Standards
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, publishes strict rules and regulations on scaffolding safety. In addition, the state and many private companies publish additional regulations which all must be followed. Violating these safety standards can result in a claim of negligence against the construction company. Some examples follow:
- The scaffold needs to support four times as much weight as anticipated
- The scaffold must never be supported by barrels, bricks, or other loose objects
- Planking for the scaffold must overlap by at least 1 foot and must extend over end supports by 6 inches to 1.5 feet
- Overhead protection is required when above work is being conducted
- Tools, debris, and materials must be secured and not allowed to collect
- Lean-tos and shore scaffolding is not allowed
Winning a Scaffold-Fall Lawsuit
In order to prove negligence to win a scaffold accident case, you’ll need to demonstrate that the circumstances of the accident go far beyond a normal workplace injury. In essence, you will need to prove that the defendant had a duty of care towards keeping you safe, that they failed to maintain and uphold that duty, and you were hurt as a direct result.
While violations of OSHA, state or company regulations can constitute negligence and a breach of the owed duty of care, workers’ compensation sometimes still attaches. This can limit the compensation you can receive.
In general, such a case won’t be directed at the employer, but at a specific party, such as the person responsible for erecting and inspecting the scaffolding. It can be difficult to pursue these kinds of cases in light of workers’ compensation, however, which makes it very important to have knowledgeable help and advice.
South Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve been involved in a scaffolding accident, collecting the compensation you deserve can quickly become a quagmire. It’s vital to have experienced help and advice in your corner to steer you on the right path and make sure you get the right settlement and the damages to which you’re entitled.
At Harris and Graves, we are South Carolina personal injury attorneys with years of experience helping many people deal with construction industry accidents, and we can help you as well. Contact us for a free, no-obligation discussion of your case, and let us start you on the road to justice.