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Scaffolding Injuries in California

Injuries sometimes happen in and around construction sites from Los Angeles to many other parts of the state.  These incidents usually occur when the scaffolding collapses or construction workers or other persons fall from them. When these accidents happen, the victims may be killed or receive catastrophic injuries. When workers are injured or killed in scaffold accidents, the victims or their families may recover compensation from several potential parties, including their employers, the company that manufactured or installed the scaffolding or the property owner where the accident occurred. An attorney may analyze what happened in order to determine all of the potentially liable parties from whom to seek compensation.

Prevalence of scaffold accidents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 54 workers were killed in falls from scaffolding during staging in 2009 alone. The BLS found that 72 percent of workers who were injured in scaffold accidents reported that the incidents happened because of the supports or planking giving away or because they slipped or were struck by falling objects. These types of accidents are preventable when companies follow the safety rules promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Unfortunately, some companies fail to adhere to the safety regulations, leading to injury and fatality accidents on construction sites.

Legal liability for injuries and wrongful deaths from scaffold accidents

When scaffolding accidents that result in injuries or deaths happen, the victims or their families may recover damages from several different parties. Workers are entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits from their employers when they are injured in accidents at work regardless of who was at fault in causing the accidents.

Workers’ compensation benefits

Injured workers may receive compensation to pay for their medical expenses and ongoing treatment and rehabilitation needs. If they are left with temporary or permanent disabilities that prevent them from returning to their jobs, they may also recover monthly benefits payments to replace a percentage of their previous wages either temporarily or permanently. The families of workers who are killed in accidents may also recover workers’ compensation benefits to pay reasonable funeral and burial costs for their loved ones as well as monthly benefits to replace a percentage of their loved ones’ former incomes.

Damages from the installer or manufacturer of the scaffolding

Some accidents are caused by scaffolding that was installed or manufactured by a third party other than the employers. Third-party liability might arise when the scaffold accident is caused by manufacturing or design defects, causing the scaffolding to fail. It may also arise in cases in which the scaffolding was manufactured correctly but a third party installed it incorrectly, resulting in the injury or fatality accident. When third parties are negligent in how the make or set up the scaffolds, the injured victims or the families of workers who are killed as a result may recover damages through personal injury or wrongful death civil lawsuits against the negligent third parties. The injured workers and families may also simultaneously recover workers’ compensation benefits from the employers even though they file personal injury lawsuits against the third parties.

Premises liability lawsuits against the property owner

Many construction sites are located on properties that are owned by businesses or homeowners that are not related to the employers. When a scaffold accident results from a dangerous condition on the property that the homeowner or business knew about or should have known about, the victims or their families may be able to recover damages through premises liability personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. Property owners have a duty to protect the safety of visitors to their properties who are present for business purposes. If they know or should know about unreasonably unsafe conditions on their properties, they have a duty to correct the hazards and to warn the visitors about their existence. If they do not warn the workers who are working on their properties and a scaffold accident results, they may be liable to pay damages in premises liability lawsuits that are filed against them.

Just like with third-party liability lawsuits, victims who file premises liability lawsuits against negligent property owners may also recover workers’ compensation benefits from their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance. This may help the victims or their families to maximize their recovery amounts so that they can be made whole.

Copyright © 2019 · Steven Sweat


About this Author

Steven M. Sweat, Personal injury law firm, Southern California, Los Angeles
Principle Founding Attorney

Steven M. Sweat, is the principal founding attorney of Steven M. Sweat, APC, a California personal injury law firm based in Los Angeles with offices throughout Southern California.  Steven was born in 1970 and grew up in Florida.  He attended Florida State University and graduated in 1992, Cum Laude.  He thereafter moved to San Diego, California where he attended and graduated from California Western School of Law in 1995.

For over two decades Steven has been litigating a wide range of civil claims.  He has been described as a "pit bull with a huge heart" and takes pride in helping...