Construction sites can be extremely dangerous places, both for workers and for visitors. Scaffolds are often necessary to complete work at heights. Although numerous safety requirements have been imposed, including safety equipment and procedures that should be used, accidents continue to happen. Thousands of injuries and many deaths would be avoided yearly if employers and employees made a concerted effort to follow safety regulations. An experienced and trained construction worker may still encounter hazards in the form of scaffolding accidents, due to the heights, falling objects, and huge equipment. If you have been hurt on a construction site, the Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids scaffolding accident attorneys at Neumann Law Group may be able to help you recover compensation. Knowledgeable construction accident lawyer Kelly Neumann has regularly secured more than $3 million in personal injury cases each year for the last several years.Establishing Liability for a Scaffolding Accident
Numerous factors may contribute to scaffolding accidents, including lack of stability, poor structure, incompetence at putting the scaffold together, lack of guardrails or other protective devices, power lines that are too close, and temporary or lightweight foundations. Whoever builds a scaffold needs to be knowledgeable and experienced regarding how to safely put it together.
In most cases, an injured construction worker who is hurt in a scaffolding accident will need to file a workers' compensation claim as his or her exclusive remedy against an employer. In some cases, however, it may be possible for an injured construction worker to sue an at-fault entity or individual that is not an employer. Many of those cases turn on proof of negligence. The worker will have to prove the defendant's duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Can the principal contractor on the site be held responsible if it is not the injured worker's employer? Generally, a principal contractor is not held responsible for its subcontractors' negligence. However, one key exception is the common work area liability theory. If a worker is injured in a scaffolding accident caused by a dangerous condition in a work area that is shared by multiple workers, the general contractor might be liable for failing to provide safety measures. The plaintiff will have to establish that the defendant is a general contractor that had the authority to coordinate the construction site, the plaintiff was hurt in a common work area, a readily witnessed danger in that area could have been avoided, and it created a high degree of risk for multiple workers.
In Michigan, a hazard itself is not a basis for liability. Often, there are multiple unavoidable risks on a construction site. Instead, the focus is on whether the defendant acted appropriately in providing proper safety devices and training to minimize the risks created by the hazard. For example, in a scaffolding accident that happens in a common area, critical issues might include whether the scaffold was constructed by someone who knew how to construct a stable scaffold and which safety devices were provided by the general contractor to prevent a fall or an injury caused by falling objects.Contact a Scaffolding Accident Attorney in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit
Scaffolding accidents on a construction site can result in significant injuries. Workers' compensation benefits are limited, and in some cases, you may want to look at other sources of compensation. The Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City scaffolding accident lawyers at Neumann Law Group may be able to help you assert your rights. We represent people in Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free consultation with a work injury attorney. We also represent people in California and Massachusetts.