Falling from Scaffold or Ladder
Falls from a ladder or a scaffold are, unfortunately, very common at many construction and jobsites in Bellevue and Seattle and all across Washington State. There are many strict and comprehensive laws in Washington State that clearly define a worker’s rights when it comes to falling from a scaffold or ladder. For instance, the Washington State Administrative Code has several provisions that make it very clear what fall protection must be present to protect a worker.Falling From Scaffold or Ladder Washington State Laws
There are many laws in Washington State that apply to protecting people who fall from scaffolds or ladders. Among the strongest of these laws are found in WAC law 296-155-24609 that provides guidance on the fall protection for four meet or more. This law makes it clear how safety is supposed to be implemented for when people are standing four feet or higher off the ground while working. It also spells out how guards should be placed on every working surface or platform that is four feet or more above the adjacent floor or ground level. The law is clear that there needs to be some kind of fall restraint system to make sure the worker is safe. Experts recommend that scaffolds should be examined every seven days to make sure they are safe.
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.Common Scaffold and Ladder Fall 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
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back 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 suffered serious injuries from a fall at work, you have some hard decisions to make about your case. Hopefully when you fell your employer had coverage with Labor and Industries. That way you are able to receive coverage through the State of Washington so you are not forced to pay any medical bills. If you are receiving bills from a medical provider, you need to call us immediately so we can help you through this.
Before you are able to understand the kind of damages that you are allowed to receive legally in Washington State from your call, you really need to be aware that there are no promises you can even get those if you first aren’t able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more than 51%, that the company caused your injuries. How can this be done? The Jackman Law Firm can find the appropriate experts and interview witnesses and do legal discovery to help prove your case. If you have questions about this, feel free to reach out to us and we can walk you through how we can do this.
Once we establish liability is not your fault, then we can move onto the damages aspect of your case. Damages means money that you are allowed to receive and it is helpful to think of them in separate categories even though, if you are able to receive a settlement for your case, your settlement will be in one lump sum check.
The Jackman Law Firm will fight to make sure you receive the following if they are applicable:
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for medical bills, past and future
- Money for lost wages and future wages
- Money for out of pocket expenses
You can even receive money for the gas you expended going to and from your medical appointments. Feel free to call us so we can give you a free consultation to discuss your case and all the possible damages you are able to receive.