Many South Carolina worksites require ladders and scaffolding to reach high levels. Because falls from heights pose a major risk of serious injury and death, there are many federal and South Carolina state regulations to ensure scaffolding and ladders are used safely in work settings.
When employers ignore safety rules and regulations, and a worker falls from a ladder or scaffold and is injured, the injured worker may have a valid claim for his or her injury and associated losses.
Falls leave many injured workers temporarily or permanently disabled, resulting in extended income loss on top of medical expenses.
If you have been hurt in a scaffolding or ladder fall at a construction site or another workplace in South Carolina, Joye Law Firm can investigate to determine what compensation you may be due.
Call Joye Law Firm now for a free review of your claim and advice about your legal rights.
Regulations Recognize Ladder and Scaffold Fall Dangers
When scaffolding is put up at a work site, the contractor or other party in charge has a responsibility to ensure workers are reasonably safe from falls. There are also regulations for using ladders, including job-made ladders, at work sites.
Fall protection is addressed in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for the construction industry. While we usually think of scaffolding and ladders at construction sites, the responsibility for safety applies wherever they are used.
OSHA’s standards require employers to have a qualified person provide training to all employees who work on a scaffold or use a ladder as part of their job. The training must enable employees to spot the hazards associated with the type of scaffold or ladder being used and to understand the ways to control or minimize those hazards.
About 35 percent of workplace fatalities in the construction industry are because of falls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says. Falls from ladders and scaffolds can cause serious personal injuries, such as:
- Broken bones (fractures)
- Deep cuts (lacerations)
- Internal bleeding
- Knee, ankle and foot injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
When employers or the supervisors they employ cut corners to save time by not training workers or to save money by not buying or issuing safety equipment, workers can suffer serious injury or death in falls from scaffolds or ladders.
When this happens, negligent contractors, subcontractors and other third parties may be held liable in for injured workers’ losses due to medical treatment and recovery expenses, as well as for lost income and pain and suffering in some cases. Most workers will also be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in these situations.
Additional Compensation for Workplace Falls
Recovery after a fall from a scaffold or ladder is likely to be painful, costly and lengthy. Many construction workers injured in falls never work again.
In cases of a serious injury from a fall, the injured worker is likely to quickly find out that workers’ compensation benefits will not cover all of his or her medical expenses. Workers’ comp covers only a portion of lost income and pays nothing for an injured worker’s pain and suffering.
Workers cannot sue their direct employer for an occupational injury. But they may be able to file a lawsuit if there was a third party responsible for causing or contributing to the accident. If a party other than the employer was responsible for the injury, a workers’ compensation claim combined with a lawsuit against the negligent third party may be an option.
A third-party claim could seek compensation for pain and suffering and any additional damages. This may allow a worker to recover more money than a workers’ comp claim alone.
In cases of a fall from a scaffold, there may be a question as to whether the scaffold was erected properly and was level. A ladder or scaffold may have been faulty, making the manufacturer liable. Maybe a contractor that did not employ the injured worker contributed to conditions that led to the worker’s fall and injury.
Every aspect of a workplace injury should be investigated by a qualified investigator who has the injured worker’s best interests in mind. Joye Law Firm conducts such investigations for South Carolina workers injured in falls from scaffolds and ladders.
We work hard to evaluate the facts of work site accidents to determine which parties may be potentially liable, and what legal remedies may be pursued to ensure maximum financial benefits for our clients.
Contact a South Carolina Lawyer About Your Fall from a Scaffold or Ladder
If a fall from a ladder or scaffolding at your place of work has left you seriously injured and disabled, you need a full investigation and assessment of your accident. You may be eligible for compensation that will aid your recovery far beyond what workers’ compensation benefits provide.
Don’t delay and let evidence about responsibility for your fall accident get lost. Call the construction accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm or complete our online form to set up a free initial consultation.
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration