If you receive injuries in a scaffold accident at a construction site, but your employer blames you for the incident, even after you followed all of the proper procedures, speak to a personal injury attorney. If your injuries occurred because of unsafe conditions that you reported to your supervisor, such as an improperly secured scaffold base or improper rigging equipment, you may qualify for workers' compensation and other benefits. Here are things to know about scaffold injuries and what you can do to obtain your compensation.
Who's Responsible For Keeping Scaffolds Safe?
Although construction jobs are some of the most dangerous professions in the United States, employers, managers, and supervisors should ensure that workers use safe, sound and secure equipment and tools throughout their projects, including scaffolds. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, developed specific safety rules, requirements and criteria for scaffolds to help employees stay safe. But if your employer or their safety team didn't inspect or secure the scaffold properly, they may be legally responsible for your injuries.
Scaffolds should have stable bases and rigging equipment in order to meet OSHA's guidelines. The lower half of the scaffold should be void of anything that can move, push or roll it during use. The equipment should also be strong enough to support your weight, including any tools, equipment and apparatuses you carry on your body as you ascend, walk and work on it.
If you noticed any of these problems with the scaffold and reported them to the site's supervisor and they threatened to fire you if you didn't continue with your duties, you have a right to fight those threats. Employees have the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions without the threat of retaliation. But if you did work as instructed because your family depends on your income to survive, you may think that you don't deserve compensation for your injuries.
This isn't true. However, you must speak to a lawyer about your rights in order to protect them.
How Do You Obtain Your Workers' Compensation?
A personal injury attorney may do a number of important things to secure your benefits and protect your rights, including obtaining safety and maintenance records for the scaffold. Construction companies should keep detailed inspection records of every piece of equipment, each apparatus, and every tool used by employees. The records should show the dates and times the employer completed safety checks on the scaffold, including the names of the people who completed the safety checks.
If maintenance checks reveal problems with the scaffold, there should be repair records for it as well. Your employer should also document the safety violation problems you reported and make every effort to correct them. An attorney may look for evidence of your reports to see if the employer made the proper corrections and repairs to the scaffold. If not, a personal injury lawyer may use the information to help win your case.
In addition to the records, an attorney may examine the construction company to see if the employer and other supervisors have a history of ignoring dangerous problems and threatening to fire employees who report them. If possible, an attorney may try to find other workers who lost their jobs due to threats. If the workers no longer live in the area or moved, this part of the case may take time to build. It's critical that you keep in touch with an attorney as much as possible until they complete the investigation.
After a lawyer compiles the evidence they need for your case, they'll discuss the next steps with you. One of the things an attorney might do is present the evidence to the employer's insurer for compensation. If the insurer refuses to provide benefits to you, a personal injury lawyer may take your case to court to obtain your compensation. If you have any concerns about how an attorney plans to pursue your benefits, be sure to discuss them right away.
For more information about your scaffold accident, consult with a legal professional, such as Spesia & Ayers Attorneys At Law, today.