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:
WAC 296-155-24609 Fall protection required at four feet or more.
(1) You must ensure that the appropriate fall protection system is provided, installed, and implemented according to the requirements in this part when employees are exposed to fall hazards of 4 feet or more to the ground or lower level when on a walking/working surface.
(2) Guarding of walking/working surfaces with unprotected sides and edges. You must guard every open sided walking/working surface or platform 4 feet or more above adjacent floor or ground level by one of the following fall protection systems. Part C-1, Page 7 Chapter 296-155 WAC Part C-1 Construction Work Fall Protection Requirements for Construction open sides, except where there is entrance to a ramp, stairway, or fixed ladder.
In viewing the mandate of this law, it is absolutely crucial that some kind of fall restraint system is put in place at the jobsite to keep a worker safe. In addition, WAC 296-155-755 states under provision (11) Ladders must extend at least 3 feet above the platform or roof served and must be secured at top and bottom to prevent slipping.
Scaffolds should obviously be inspected to ensure their safety has not been compromised, but how often? Experts recommend inspecting the scaffold every seven days until it is deconstructed. It is recommended that the scaffold be examined for safety every time the scaffold is left to bad weather, such as rain, snow, hail or wind, since these elements could damage the scaffold.
A scaffold can only hold so much weight, either from a person(s) and from the equipment and materials that are being held on the scaffold, but how much weight can the scaffold hold? Per OSHA law, there is a formula for coming up with this.
To get to it you have multiple 35 square feet by 25 pounds per square foot and then the scaffolding can be loaded with at most 875 pounds and 125 pounds of equipment, along with tools and materials can be added to the scaffold. Overloading the scaffold with too much equipment, materials and weight is one of the leading causes of scaffolding collapses and failures.
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 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.