Scaffolding is incredibly dangerous, and responsible for many injuries and deaths every year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annually, it causes 4,500 workplace injuries and more than 60 deaths. There are an estimated 2.3 million construction workers – or 65% of the construction industry – working on scaffolds. One BLS study showed that 72% of workers who were injured by scaffolding reported that the support or planking gave way, or they were injured when they slipped or were hit by a falling object.
Scaffolding injuries don’t just occur to people on the job, however. They also happen to civilians. Someone could be walking by a construction site when a worker accidentally drops a hammer from scaffolding and it strikes the person walking in the head. Scaffolding may not be secure and collapse on someone, causing serious damage.
There are numerous reasons why scaffolding injuries happen, as well as ways to go about seeking justice and getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Why Scaffolding Injures Occur
Scaffolding injuries are, many times, a result of negligence. A construction worker may not have properly supported or secured the scaffolding. A manager might not have done the right safety checks before work was started for the day. A construction site company could have failed to install safety barriers and put up warning signs for pedestrians around the site.
On the other hand, a pedestrian might have ignored warning signs. They could have broken into a construction site at night and gotten injured or walked where a construction worker told them not to. It is not always the fault of the workers on the construction site or their employers.
Types of Scaffolding Injuries
When a worker slips off scaffolding, the scaffolding collapses, an object falls from scaffolding onto someone or any other related situation, different kinds of injuries can occur. They include spinal cord injuries, or paralysis, deep cuts, broken bones, traumatic brain injury and internal organ injury.
Some of these injuries, like paralysis and traumatic brain injury, which are considered catastrophic injuries, can affect a person for the rest of their life. They may not be able to function like they once did ever again, and would have to use a wheelchair and special transportation and equipment just to get by. Their home life would never be the same either, because they would not be able to help out their spouse with their children or chores.
Additionally, the medical costs for catastrophic injuries are extremely high. While a broken bone injury may cost a few thousand dollars to treat, you could spend hundreds of thousands or perhaps more than a million dollars over the course of your lifetime on a catastrophic injury. Just think about all the surgeries, hospital stays, equipment, home modifications and appointments you would have to pay for if this ever happened. Plus, you’d lose out on income from not being able to work, which must be factored in.
Who Is Responsible for a Scaffolding Injury?
If you are injured in a scaffolding accident, then there are a few parties who may be held responsible. It may be the fault of the contractor who is overseeing the project and failed to do a proper safety inspection before the workers started that day. It could also be the fault of the owner of the construction company for not training their employees on workplace safety. On the flipside, if you illegally trespassed into a construction site, even though it’s fully secured, you may be deemed responsible if you got injured. It all depends on the circumstances that occurred surrounding the injury.
Paying for a Scaffolding Injury
If you were on the job when you got injured, then you should be covered by workers’ compensation in Georgia. You would be able to receive money for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses you may have incurred due to your scaffolding injury.
In case workers’ compensation denies your claim or refuses to cover all of your expenses, then you may have to file a claim against a third party, such as a tool manufacturer or a contractor. Again, it all depends on why you got injured in the first place. If you win a personal injury claim against another party, then you could potentially be compensated more in damages than if you had gone after workers’ comp.
If you were a pedestrian who got injured, you would likely file a personal injury claim against the construction company or contractor overseeing the project.
Finding a Personal Injury Attorney
Instead of filing a personal injury claim due to a scaffolding injury on your own, you’ll need an experienced attorney on your side to handle your case. You’ll want to hire someone who has worked on these sorts of cases and knows all the factors that could be involved.
All you’ll have to do is present your attorney with any relevant evidence, such as photos of the scaffolding/construction site, medical records of your injury and witness testimonies you collected and tell them exactly what happened when your injury occurred. Then, you can simply focus on recovery and hopefully getting back out into the world and working again as soon as possible.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia
If you were injured by scaffolding while you were either on or off the job, find out how a personal injury attorney can help you by contacting the Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Winston Briggs today.