Scaffolding accidents in Los Angeles
If you have had a scaffolding accident in Los Angeles and need to sue a responsible person or company to recover damages, do not hesitate to contact our expert injury and work injury lawyers at Lluís Law. We have been dealing with this type of events for more than 50 years and helping victims obtain justice.
Falling from a scaffold or a lifting platform can be fatal for a worker. With luck maybe I could just fracture some bones. The fact is that scaffolding accidents can be extremely serious, depending on the height and the part of the body that is injured. So much that they can cause permanent total disability or change a person’s life forever.
Employees at any company in Los Angeles, whether they have legal or illegal status, are covered by workers’ compensation insurance that their employer must purchase. The insurance policies cover the necessary medical care bills and disability benefits that compensate for the loss of wages.
The problem arises when the worker’s compensation insurance policy is not enough to cover the worker’s full medical treatment or other associated damages. Not having a workers’ compensation lawyer with experience and skill can be dangerous for the victim of a scaffold accident and for your family.
Just imagine what it can mean for an injured worker to stay halfway through extended medical treatment, with no money, or ability to return to work for the duration of their rehabilitation? Or that the worker has a permanent disability and can never work again?
After an accident as serious as these, the worker or his family must think very well in whose hands they trust their future. Hiring a competent work injury lawyer can make the difference between receiving sufficient compensation or not.
The primary interest of the injured worker is to be totally cured of the injuries and, if possible, to return to work to generate income at home. On the other hand, you need to receive compensation for all possible damages for loss of wages, loss of ability to generate profits, loss of company and loss of quality of life.
Negligence and responsibility
Many of the scaffolding accidents occur due to faults in the structure of the scaffolding itself at the time of being assembled, due to poor quality of the tubes that are part of the structure or because they were not properly fastened. In any case, the key legal concepts in these catastrophic events are: negligence and lack of responsibility of the contractor companies.
Both concepts are the core of the legal issue for any claim or civil lawsuit that is tried. Negligence is nothing other than the lack of will or action to correct a fault or situation in this potentially dangerous case. For example, failure to provide workers’ protection tools knowing that they perform a hazardous task is an irresponsible and negligent act on the part of a company.
When the negligence of a person or company is the direct cause of a work injury, the employee has the right to claim compensation. If after the work accident, the employer dismisses the worker alleging that the accident was his fault, the worker has the right to file a lawsuit in a California court.
You can also do it if after initiating medical treatment the employer’s insurance company suspends you if no legal reason. In such a situation, legal assistance should be sought as soon as possible. A Los Angeles accident attorney who specializes in personal injury can study the case during a free consultation requested by the client.
The lawyer can determine who is responsible for the scaffolding accident and what workers’ compensation benefits are available to the injured employee.
Scaffolding regulations in California
The California Code of Regulations (Section 1637) establishes a series of regulations for the assembly of scaffolds. The spirit of the law is to provide safe work environments for workers.
It states that when work can not be carried out safely from ladders, safe and adequate scaffolding must be provided to construction workers who work in “permanent or solid constructions”, whose length must be at least 20 inches wide.
The exceptions to the law are for those jobs of short duration, that do not exceed 15 feet in height and do not represent risks for the worker. On the design and construction of scaffolds, the Code recommends that they be constructed of wood or other suitable and resistant materials (steel, aluminum).
About the load of the scaffolding, it indicates that they must have “a dead load safety factor” in which it is guaranteed that the scaffolding will be able to bear its own weight without problems and that of “4 times the maximum workload” envisaged. On this point there are certain exceptions depending on the type of scaffolding, the weight it must support and its height.
Likewise, the California Code of Regulations establishes a certain number of workers for each scaffolding, according to its size and capacity. All these rules must be known by the engineer in charge of the work and must be applied to prevent accidents from occurring during the workday.
The law places the responsibility for the proper functioning of the scaffolding on the owner of the work or on the contractor of the construction project. It is your obligation to provide workers with adequate safety equipment and work tools. Otherwise they may be subject to civil liability claims.
While on construction sites employers or contractors comply with safety standards and implement safe practices on scaffolding, many lives of workers can be saved, apart from contributing to reduce the costs of accidents by companies.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises adopting some standards for working on safer scaffolds:
- The height of the scaffold must never exceed 4 times its base.
- Scaffolds must have the capacity to support their own weight (plus 4 times the maximum load).
- The platforms must be properly supported with legs, poles, supports and frames.
- Suspended scaffolds must be supported with fittings and ropes capable of supporting a weight greater than 6 times their maximum load.
- The task of erecting, moving or dismantling a scaffold must have the supervision of a trained person.
- The scaffolds require periodic inspection by the expert in scaffolding assembly, so if you observe defective parts or parts immediately proceed to replace them.
- The employer is obliged to train workers on the proper use of scaffolding to avoid accidents at work.
- When there are bad environmental conditions such as rain, snow, strong winds or storms, the scaffolding expert must decide if it is safe to continue working in such conditions under his responsibility.
Whose responsibility was the scaffold accident?
Mostly, the scaffolds are built and maintained by companies specialized in this type of structure. It means that if the accident was caused by a demonstrable failure of the scaffolding company to supply or erect a structure in poor or inadequate condition, the injured worker could file a claim or demand from third parties against the company.
The workers’ compensation claim that is presented to the employer for medical treatment is different from the claim that will be filed against the scaffolding manufacturer. In this way, the worker obtains an additional compensation to compensate for lost wages, damages for pain and suffering and other economic and non-economic damages.
If you or a family member were injured in a scaffolding accident, you can count on Lluís Law’s law firm. Our experienced labor injury and personal injury attorneys can help you with your claim or claim for damages. Do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Our telephone number is (213) 320-0777.
Address: 205 South Broadway, Suite 1000 Los Angeles, CA 90012. Tel: (213) 687-4412 Fax: (213) 687-3441.