Liability for Falls from Scaffolding in Pennsylvania

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the leading cause of construction site fatalities is falls from heights. Of course, one of the most common ways construction workers can be involved in these types of falls is when using scaffolding. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a fall from scaffolding, you might not know whom you can hold liable. Learn more here.

Why do scaffolding falls occur?

There are several different circumstances that might lead to a fall from scaffolding. The most common examples include:

  • Scaffolding collapses
  • Scaffolding detaching from wall
  • Lack of safety railing or defective railing
  • Slippery surfaces due to ice, snow, or water
  • No fall protection devices, such as harnesses, provided
  • Lack of safety training
  • Scaffolding set up on uneven ground

Falls from scaffolding can lead to serious injuries including bruises, sprains, broken bones, head and spinal trauma, and even death.

Who is liable for my scaffolding accident?

Liability for a scaffolding accident at a construction site depends on a variety of factors.

A general contractor, site manager, sub-contractor, manufacturer, or property manager could ultimately be responsible for the cost of your injuries and other damages, but proving liability is rather difficult. 

(Note: Even if your employer caused the accident, workers’ compensation laws forbid you from suing your employer. You can only recover workers’ compensation benefits in this case.)

For example, if scaffolding collapses while in use, there may be more than one reason why the accident happened.

The original manufacturer of the scaffolding may have constructed and sold a defective support piece, the sub-contractors who originally assembled the scaffolding may have left some of the railings loose, and a site manager may have failed to spot these issues during a safety inspection. All three of these actions could lead to liability and financial responsibility for your damages.

OSHA has many laws in place that dictate how to properly assemble scaffolding. For example, scaffolding must be able to support certain weights and general contractors must provide workers with fall prevention equipment if workers will be higher than 10 feet off the ground. If someone on site fails to abide by OSHA safety regulations, that will go a long way towards proving liability.

How do I file a claim?

How you begin your claim will depend on your liable party. If your liable party is a general contractor, sub-contractor, or site manager, you will file a negligence claim, likely with the company’s liability insurer.

If you are filing against a manufacturer, you will file a strict liability claim against the manufacturer.

If you are filing against a property manager, you will file a premises liability claim with the property owner’s business insurance.

Contact Cordisco & Saile After a Fall

The construction site accident attorneys at Cordisco & Saile, LLC can help you gather the evidence you need to prove liability after a scaffolding accident. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to schedule a free initial consultation and find out more about how we can help you.