Scaffolding accidents are all too common in New Jersey and throughout the country. While all types of construction work carry risk, scaffolding accidents tend to result in some of the most serious injuries and in a high percentage of fatalities. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, scaffolding accidents account for over 50 percent of construction accidents.
If you have suffered serious personal injuries as a result of a scaffolding accident in New Jersey, or have tragically lost a loved one in this type of accident, you and your family are entitled to compensation for physical, emotional, and financial distress. Your wisest move is to get in touch with a trustworthy personal injury attorney with a track record of success. Nagel Rice LLP, with offices in Roseland and Manhattan, has a team of savvy attorneys who can offer you the benefit of their excellent litigation skills, well-honed over more than 30 years of experience.
Types of Scaffolding Accidents
Sixty-five percent of construction workers work on scaffolds at least part of the time. Although OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has strict regulations to protect the safety of these employees, workers on scaffolds are still at elevated risk of being hurt on the job. In spite of the fact that OSHA requires both supervised construction and regular inspections of scaffolding, many companies are non-compliant. Almost three-quarters of those injured in scaffolding accidents report being hurt because of one of the following:
Nearly all of these accidents could be avoided if safety standards already in place were followed religiously. For example, electrical lines too often result in electrocution of scaffolding workers. The reason for this is that these employees are frequently working at the height of electrical lines. While OSHA has various rules to protect workers from electrical injuries on scaffolds — among them requiring that scaffolds be an appropriate distance from power lines and that workers on scaffolds not handle any conductive material that might come into contact with exposed power lines — employers do not always follow OSHA standards.
Falls Due to Overloaded Scaffolding
It is imperative that scaffold construction and maintenance be supervised by an experienced, well-schooled professional. Contractors, in an effort to be cost-effective, or through simple negligence, may not see to it that necessary braces for the scaffold are in place. They may also fail to limit excessive strain on the scaffold by neglecting to avoid overloading, putting their workers in grave danger. Collapsing scaffolds are the root cause of a great many scaffolding accidents. Sadly, the OSHA rules — that suspended scaffolds must be able to support at least six times their intended loads, that workers be carefully trained, and that a competent person inspect the site daily — are routinely disobeyed. Another safety regulation that is regularly ignored is that workers not use guardrails or other parts of the scaffold frame to climb to another level (more than two feet), but rather use ladders built into the scaffold or an attached ladder.
Falls Due to Slipping
In addition to building and maintaining sturdy scaffolding, contractors are forbidden to allow their employees to work on scaffolds covered with snow, ice, or other slippery material. Also, where the scaffold platform noticeably slopes, workers are required to wear cleats to make them more sure-footed. Scaffold stairways must always have slip-resistant treads and landings. Workers should be informed of these rules so they will know when their rights are being violated.
Being Struck by Falling Objects
Because being struck by falling objects is a terrible danger to anyone, let alone a worker on a scaffold, precautions should always be in place to prevent such occurrences. While OSHA requires hard hats for employees in danger of being hit by falling objects or debris from above, workers on top levels with no one working above them are not required to have head protection.
Scaffold work is supposed to be barricaded unless a protective canopy shelters those below. Toeboards at the edges of platforms, and paneling or screening may also be required to keep larger objects from falling.
Injuries That May Result From Scaffolding Accidents
Injuries that occur during scaffolding work are, unfortunately, usually severe, and often fatal. These injuries include:
- Fractured bones
- Internal bleeding
- Neuromuscular damage
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Though many injuries might be prevented by safety harnesses or nets, these are only required for workers who are working higher than a certain number of feet, varying according to the job being performed.
How Nagel Rice Will Help
In a great many cases, scaffolding accidents are the fault of someone other than the person injured. If you have been involved in, or lost a loved one to, a scaffolding accident, it is always wise to check with our scaffolding attorneys who will evaluate whether you have a viable case against a contractor, subcontractor, equipment manufacturer, tool manufacturer, landlord or materials supplier.
Even if you think the accident was your own fault, it may have resulted from your having had insufficient training — a lack for which your employer is responsible. You can count on our knowledgeable attorneys to collect all available evidence, interview witnesses and, if necessary, check with experts in various fields, such as masonry or engineering. Once we determine that you have a winnable case, we will file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf against the party or parties responsible and fight doggedly to win you the compensation you deserve.
We Have Won Over $1 Billion in Verdicts and Settlements for Our Clients
At Nagel Rice, our negotiation and litigation skills are unmatched and you pay nothing until we win your case. If you have suffered severe injuries in a scaffolding accident for which someone else is responsible, you are entitled to collect both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages reimburse you for:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Ambulance and emergency room fees
- Prescription medications
- Lost income (present and future)
- Lost or damaged property
Non-economic damages compensate you for less tangible things, such as:
- Physical pain
- Emotional trauma
- Impairment or disfigurement
- Loss of limb
- Loss of sight or hearing
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In cases where the defendant has engaged in especially reckless, callous or indifferent misconduct, our sharp attorneys may be able to obtain punitive damages as well.
Contact Our Scaffolding Accident Lawyer Today!
You should contact Nagel Rice LLP as soon as possible so we can get started strategizing to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Not only is there a 2-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in New Jersey, but the more proactive our team can be in obtaining details about your case, the better able we will be to achieve a successful outcome. Call us at either our Roseland or Manhattan office or fill out one of the contact forms on our website.
Nagel Rice LLP helps their clients with their scaffolding accident claims throughout New Jersey including Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Sussex County.