Falling from Roof
Falls from a roof, especially when it’s from a height greater than 10 feet, can be very serious, and sometimes they can even take someone’s life. Per the US Department of Labor, about 350 workers are killed each year because of falls from roofs. This is a little less than half of all deaths in the US on jobsites.
Workers who fall from roofs often suffer catastrophic injuries, including becoming paralyzed. In some cases, workers are killed or left in comas. Falls can occur from heights as low as four feet and greater than 20 feet. In cities like Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, and Bellingham, there are many workers who suffer terrible falls and do not realize that they have the opportunity to achieve significant compensation for their injuries.Falling from Roof Washington State Laws
The law that governs fall protection for workers is the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act, known as WISHA.
WAC 296-155-24603 states as follows: “A written planning document in which the employer identifies all areas on the job site where a fall hazard of 10 feet or more exists. The plan describes the method or methods of fall protection to be used to protect employees, and includes the procedures governing the installation, use, inspection, and removal of the fall protection method or methods which are selected by the employer.”
There are three different kinds of ways that a worker can keep from falling:
- A fall arrest
- A fall restraint
- A fall positioning.
All three can preventive measures to keep a worker from falling. Oftentimes, falls can be prevented completely if a worker is given a harness to wear and the harness is connected to a pole or a stake of some kind. However, on some jobsites the owner of the property or the general contractor fails to provide enough harnesses and safety equipment to the workers.
It is very important a written planning document in which the employer identifies all areas on the job site where a fall hazard of 10 feet or more exists. The plan describes the method or methods of fall protection to be used to protect employees, and includes the procedures governing the installation, use, inspection, and removal of the fall protection method or methods which are selected by the employer.
The applicable WAC governing fall hazards for falls greater than 10 feet states:
The fall protection work plan must:
- (i) Identify all fall hazards in the work area;
- (ii) Describe the method of fall arrest or fall restraint to be provided;
- (iii) Describe the proper procedures for the assembly, maintenance, inspection, and disassembly of the fall protection system to be used;
- (iv) Describe the proper procedures for the handling, storage, and securing of tools and materials;
- (v) Describe the method of providing overhead protection for workers who may be in, or pass through the area below the worksite; (vi) Describe the method for prompt, safe removal of injured workers; and (vii) Be available on the job site for inspection by the department.
If you have been injured by a jobsite fall of 4 or 10 feet, or greater than 10 feet, you may have a legal claim against the owner of the property or the general contractor. If you have been injured on the job, you have one of two options in order to secure a recovery for your injuries. First, you may to be able to turn to L&I.
L&I stands for Labor and Industries and they are a division of Washington State. They will pay you a portion of your time loss and, if you are eligible, you can receive a financial settlement for your injuries, which is called a permanent partial disability award (PPD award). This amount is based on the percentage of your disability.
The particular thing about a L&I case is that you don’t have to prove that anyone was at fault. L&I does not care who was at fault. You can receive benefits from L&I regardless of who was at fault. Even you could be at fault. All that matters is that you were on the job when you got hurt. While the settlement you will receive L&I may not be much money, it can at least be something for you.
The second option you have is what is called a third party settlement. A third party settlement is only available when a party other than your employer caused your accident. So if there was another company, such as a general contractor, that was partly or entirely responsible for how the accident was created, then you can sue the general contractor just like you could sue someone who struck you with their car.
If you have to sue the general contractor, or a subcontractor, then you have to prove that they were somehow negligent and caused your injuries. This is very different from L&I obviously, where, again, you don’t have to prove fault. With a third party case, the burden of proof is on you. This means you may have to hire a certain kind of expert to prove your version of events are in fact correct. These cases may not be easy to win, but the financial reward may be much greater than with a L&I case.
If this second option is available to you, there is no reason why you can’t have both a L&I case and a third party case. The reason this is the case is that you are not suing your employer, which is not allowed when L&I is involved. Instead, you’re suing a company other than your employer, which is allowed. However, L&I will likely ask that you repay a portion of your legal settlement that is reserved for medical bills back to L&I.
While the party that injured you, whether it be a general or subcontractor, may have violated any number of laws, it is important to identify at least one. In addition, you may be able to just point to the fact that the defendant either knew or should have known there was a problem with their worksite in terms of it not being safe.
If you have suffered an electric shock on the job and suffered serious injuries, feel free to speak to The Jackman Law Firm for a free consultation.Common Falling from Roof Injuries
If you have been injured on the job or at a construction site, you may have suffered a number of serious injuries. Among them are:
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
After injuring yourself in a construction accident, it is doubtful the injury will just heal on its own. Rather, you will have to see a doctor or specialist, such as a chiropractor, osteopath, primary doctor, or surgeon in order to get back to health. Delaying to get medical care is not advisable. Please seek immediately medical care in order to treat your injuries.How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
If you have been injured at a jobsite or construction site, you may have a claim against them to recoup compensation for your injuries. The Jackman Law Firm has the expertise to effectively represent you with the insurance company for the construction company, in arbitration and if necessary in court to secure your rights for compensation and relief. After your injury, you are understandably upset and likely unsure of your options and which way to with your case. You are likely receiving a lot of phone calls from insurance companies, you’re going to the doctor or the chiropractor, and you may be missing work.
If this is the case, do not go through this process alone. We can help you every step of the way. We can work with the insurance companies so they do not contact you. We can help you secure all of the compensation you are owed for your injury under Washington State Law. The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover the following:
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for lost wages
- Money for out of pocket expenses
- Money for medical bills
We have the resources, experience, and successful track record to win your case. There may be instances when you find yourself having to defend yourself from untrue accusations from the insurance company for the party that injured you. They may claim that you are somehow either entirely at fault or partly at fault for your injuries.
For instance, if you suffered a spinal cord injury because of a fall at a construction site, the insurance company for the business may argue that you should have watched where you were going. If this is the case, the Jackman Law Firm can help you by sending a subpoena for documents from the company, interviewing key witnesses, and speaking to the police to see if we can do everything possible to prove your case in your favor. Feel free to call for a free consultation.