Falling Objects, Walls, Materials
Oftentimes at buildings and jobsites and worksites there are objects that fall and strike workers. Unless you’re wearing a helmet, it is very easy to be hit with a falling object. If an object falls and hits a worker, the injuries can be severe, even deadly. Per OSHA, there were more than 52,600 incidents of workers being struck by objects falling at the jobsite.
Part of the problem occurs when a worker’s tools are not properly secured or tied up and they fall from a worker’s tool-belt if the worker is working at a great height. Objects such as walls and other heavy materials can fall on a worker at any time when they are working in Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, and Bellingham.Falling Objects, Walls, and Materials Washington State Laws
When workers are injured, a lot of the time it’s because the employer has not thought up a fall protection program for tools and equipment that can fall onto a worker below. OSHA recommends that workers can use tools without interference, tools that weigh more than five pounds should be fastened to a structure or a tether to keep the tool secure, and monitor the load rating.
Following these simple steps can save a worker’s life because the third largest reason for death on the jobsite is because of objects and equipment. OSHA also requires workers to make sure tools and materials are prevented from falling, using toe boards and screens on guard rails and use debris nets or catch platforms to secure falling objects. There is no duty or law on the books that says that tools must be tied up or tethered to a worker or station.
OSHA is the governing body that can cite employers from tools or materials that fall and harm a worker. OSHA will point to the General Duty clause when citing an employer. In order to be cited, there must be a hazard present, the hazard has to be recognized that can cause injury or death to a worker, and the hazard has to be able to be corrected.
OSHA also recommends the following measures to keep workers safe. If a worker wants to hand a tool to another worker, the worker should make sure the tool is tethered and secured. Employees should be trained on how to handle tools that tethered and how to connect tools, as well as how to hoist tools. A workers height should only bring up the tools necessary to do the job. There are many bags and pouches available for sale that can decrease the risk that an item will fall. Toe boards can also help stop falling tools, especially if the toe-board can withstand 50 pounds of pressure. Finally, there are also debris nets that can catch falling tools.
Erecting walls at a jobsite can also pose a real hazard to a worker. OSHA has a recommended fall protection regimen where an anchorage is tied up to the worker, the worker wears a harness, and a lanyard acts as a connector that bridges the harness to the anchorage. If a worker is hooked up like this, it is very unlikely the worker will fall.
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 Objects, Walls, and Materials 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 by a wall or some material falling on you, 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 back injury because of a wall that has fallen on you, 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.