Scaffolding is a necessary element of most construction work in California. These devices are temporary structures that provide more standing space to work in high areas than ladders, and they are less complex than specialized vehicles like boom lifts and scissor lifts. However, most scaffolds are used over prolonged periods of time, and while most are used safely, it is vital for anyone who uses scaffolds on a regular basis to know the risks these devices present.
Scaffolding accidents are unfortunately common in California and throughout the United States. Construction site supervisors and employers must ensure the scaffolds purchased for their operations are safe and capable of providing sound footing for workers. When problems arise or safety hazards are identified, they must be addressed immediately. Any worker injured in a scaffold accident likely has grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim, but they may have the ability to pursue further legal recourse if a specific party is responsible for their scaffolding accident.
Potential Injuries From Scaffolding Accidents
A scaffold could collapse and result in extreme traumatic injury, and it is also possible for a victim to fall from a scaffold and suffer tremendous harm. Scaffold injuries include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and many minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises. In addition, the victim of a scaffold injury could face a host of immediate medical expenses and inability to work while they recover, and it is also possible for this type of accident to result in tremendous long-term harm.
If you were injured in a scaffold accident at work, you likely have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer. Every employer in California must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is similar to filing any other insurance claim.
Recovering From a Workplace Injury in California
As long as your employer fulfills their legal obligations under the state’s workers’ compensation laws, you should not have much trouble securing the benefits you legally deserve after a workplace injury. A successful workers’ compensation claim should yield two forms of benefits: medical expense coverage and temporary disability payments while you are unable to work.
Workers’ compensation will generally cover all medical care the victim of a workplace injury requires to reach maximum medical improvement from their injuries. However, when it comes to temporary disability benefits, the amount they receive and the time they continue to receive them hinges on the severity of their injury and the residual functional capacity they retain after reaching maximum medical improvement.
In the event a specific party is liable for a scaffolding accident, the injured worker may have the right to file a personal injury claim against them. State law generally prevents injured workers from suing their employers for workplace injuries as long as their employers have appropriate workers’ compensation coverage. However, if a third party is liable, the injured worker can hold them accountable for damages not covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation policy.
How an Attorney Can Help
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits can be more challenging than you might expect, even if you know you are not at fault for the accident. There is always a chance that the insurance company will unfairly push back against your legitimate claim, and it is even possible for an employer to interfere directly with their employee’s workers’ compensation claim process. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is the best option in this situation, and reliable legal counsel will enable you to approach the claim process with greater confidence.
The attorneys at English Lloyd & Armenta have the skills and experience necessary to handle the toughest workplace injury claims in California. We have represented many victims of scaffolding accidents in the past and can leverage this experience to help you recover as fully as the law allows.
Q: How Common Are Scaffolding Accidents in California?
A: According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other agencies, scaffolding injuries are unfortunately common and account for roughly 30% of all workplace deaths in the United States. Therefore, whenever scaffolding must be used, it is crucial for it to be installed correctly, checked thoroughly for defects, and braced according to all applicable workplace safety instructions. Workers must also be trained on scaffold safety and use all required safety equipment.
Q: What Is the Top Reason People Fall From Scaffolding?
A: Scaffold defects are the leading cause of scaffold-related falls. Any time scaffolding must be used, the party installing it must carefully inspect each element to ensure it is free from defects. Other leading causes of scaffold accidents include improper scaffold construction, inadequate maintenance, and weak or inadequate planking. Therefore, all job site supervisors must pay close attention to scaffold construction and regularly inspect scaffolds to check for any safety hazards.
Q: What Are the Most Common Workplace Accidents in California?
A: The latest workplace accident data indicates that falls are the leading cause of death in workplace accidents throughout the United States each year. Falls from scaffolds are just one example of this, and it’s possible for any fall to cause catastrophic or fatal injuries. Construction is statistically the most dangerous industry when it comes to the number of workplace injuries and deaths each year.
Q: What Should I Do After a Workplace Accident in California?
A: Your employer is likely required to carry workers’ compensation insurance under state law, so you likely have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer after a workplace injury. In addition, your employer is legally required to provide you with the materials needed to file your claim, and if a specific party caused your injury, you might have grounds to file a third-party personal injury claim as well.
The attorneys at English Lloyd & Armenta have years of experience guiding clients through workers’ compensation cases and related personal injury claims in Southern California. We know the challenges the victim of a scaffolding accident is likely to face in terms of their recovery and the legal obstacles presented by the workers’ compensation claim system. If you need guidance and support from a trustworthy attorney after any workplace accident, contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team.