Where Does Liability Fall in a Scaffolding Accident?

Wednesday November 23, 2022

You may think it will never happen to you, but a scaffolding accident can strike at any time. However, there are ways to reduce their likelihood. If you have suffered from a scaffolding accident, you might qualify for workers' compensation if it injured you on the job. If another party was responsible for your scaffolding damages, you might also have a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced scaffolding accident attorney in Connecticut can guide you through each process.

How to Determine Liability in Scaffolding Incidents

Liability for your scaffolding accident may partially depend on the work arrangement you were operating under. For example, if the construction company employs you and you worked for them when the accident occurred, your company's workers' compensation insurance should cover your injuries. An experienced scaffolding accident attorney can help you with this paperwork.

Other times, a third party may be liable for your scaffolding injury. Third parties sometimes found liable for scaffolding accidents may include the following:

  • A negligent contractor or other non-employee
  • A manufacturer of defective equipment
  • A driver passing the construction site

In such cases, pursuing a personal injury claim in conjunction with your workers' compensation claim may be advisable.

What Are a Contractor's Responsibilities to Make a Jobsite Safe in Regards to Scaffolding?

As a contractor, you bear responsibility for your safety on the scaffolding you use. There are scaffolding guidelines that are smart to follow. However, be aware of Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) guidelines and always be mindful of OSHA rules and violations. Breaking OSHA rules could open you up to liability as a contractor. 

Here are some common dos and don'ts of scaffolding:

Do:

  • Have trained scaffolders build, modify, and dismantle scaffolding
  • Ensure your fall protection is up to OSHA standards
  • Use a personal fall arrest system when you are working above 10 feet without guardrails

Don't:

  • Overload the scaffold
  • Work on scaffolds during high winds
  • Build scaffolding on unstable objects

Familiarizing yourself with scaffolding best practices can help you protect yourself physically and legally should something go wrong. Preventing these accidents from ever happening is always the ideal solution.

Scaffolding Must Have Nonslip Treads and Guardrails

OSHA has strict rules concerning scaffolding and its surface and guardrail specifications. All treads and landings are required to have slip-resistant surfaces. Likewise, there are multiple specifications concerning acceptable guardrail construction. Being familiar with these rules can help you prevent entering unsafe situations that may open you up to liability.

Routine Inspections Must Be Completed

Similar to scaffolding construction requirements, OSHA also regulates routine scaffolding inspections. The periodic scaffolding inspections depend on the type of scaffolding you use. 

The point of the inspection is to ensure the scaffold's safety, so the employee assigned to inspect the scaffold must possess sufficient knowledge to complete the task and recognize unsafe conditions. A cursory look at the scaffolding is insufficient to count as an inspection. Instead, the inspection must include "careful and critical examination." 

Construction scaffolding requires an inspection before each work shift. It must undergo an additional inspection if anything occurs to potentially affect the scaffold's structural integrity. 

Checklists and Guidelines Need to Be Provided

Guidelines and checklists must be provided to ensure workers enact proper safety measures. OSHA provides a scaffolding safety e-tool that can be personalized around various types of scaffolding. Following the guidelines and using the provided checklists can help your construction site remain safe for you and your team.

If your construction site is not currently following these safety measures, mention this to the person in charge of safety so they can make the proper arrangements. Document this request in case it is ignored, and you are injured.

What Personal Injury Lawsuits Can Be Included?

Your scaffolding accident attorney may recommend a personal injury lawsuit if your injury goes beyond a workers' compensation claim or includes other qualifying details. Some common causes of construction lawsuits can range from construction defects to defective materials.

Generally, to file a personal injury lawsuit in Connecticut, the following must be true:

  • You were injured or suffered damages from the accident.
  • Another party was responsible for your damages.
  • You were not primarily responsible for the accident.
  • The other party's negligent actions caused your injury or damages.
  • The statute of limitations for your claim has not run out. For personal injury lawsuits, this deadline is generally two years from the date of your accident or injury.

If these are true in your case, you may have a solid personal injury lawsuit.

Examples of personal injury lawsuits concerning scaffolding accidents may include the following injuries:

These construction accidents may be due to improper scaffolding construction, other scaffolding hazards, or scaffolding safety guidelines being disregarded. Construction workers must have safe access to their scaffolding and other construction site necessities. This is true regardless of whether the construction workers are building a skyscraper or performing maintenance on a small apartment building. Safety guideline education and adherence are vital in reducing scaffolding accident statistics in the U.S.

How Do You File Compensation Claims?

Businesses with one or more employees must carry workers' compensation insurance in Connecticut. Make sure you download the forms from the appropriate location to ensure they are accurate, current and meet all requirements. 

First, you should determine the necessary forms for your workers' compensation claim. Then, you must carefully follow the instructions to complete each form correctly. A workers' compensation claim lawyer can help identify the necessary forms and help you file your claim. Working with a real person throughout this process can reduce stress and allow you to focus on your recovery.

Hold the Appropriate Party Accountable With the Right Representation

If you or your loved one has been injured in a scaffolding accident, an experienced scaffolding accident attorney can help. We can help you hold the negligent parties accountable for the injuries and damages you suffered. The right representation can ensure you receive the damage awards that allow for the best treatment for your injuries. This can help give you the best chance of making a 100% recovery. 

The attorneys at Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab, & Roberge, L.L.C. are passionate, empathetic, and serious about holding negligent parties liable for their damages. We can answer your questions and evaluate your potential legal claim honestly.

Contact us today to arrange a free consultation. 

Get in Touch

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation

At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today.

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