Falls from Heights in Construction and Industrial Accidents

falls from heights

Many potentially dangerous conditions may exist on a construction site or other industrial work site. However, the biggest danger a worker faces, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is the possibility of falling from heights. Falls from heights represent nearly 40 percent of all fatal construction accidents, making falls the most common cause of accidental death in the industry. OSHA regulations stipulate that employers must provide fall protection gear to all employees who work at elevations over six feet. However, many contractors and other employers may ignore these regulations in favor of profits. Depending on the circumstances, injured workers and their families may be able to collect compensation through a third party injury claim in addition to workers compensation.

Painters, roofers, window washers, construction workers and others who work at high levels can all be at risk of catastrophic and life-threatening injuries in a fall if they lack proper equipment. At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., our attorneys advocate for these workers who sustain injuries in falls from heights, as well as those injured in other construction accidents. Workers compensation is often limited, and rarely covers the true cost of catastrophic injuries from falls. However, a construction accident lawyer from our firm can investigate the cause of your fall to identify all liable parties. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and nationwide, and are prepared to help pursue maximum compensation for your losses.

What are the Most Common Causes of Falls from Heights on Construction Sites?

Some construction and industrial work includes standing on scaffolding, beams and other temporary support systems. In such situations, an ironworker may slip from a girder, for example, or a roofer may lose his or her balance. However, all construction workers should have safety harnesses and other equipment to prevent serious fall injuries. It is typically only when this equipment is missing or fails that a fall can result in a serious or fatal construction injury.

In almost all cases, negligence by the contractor or other party results in an unimpeded fall. Therefore, the most common causes of construction site falls include:

  • Lack of safety equipment such as guardrails, netting and harnesses
  • Unsafe scaffolding
  • Uncovered holes
  • Debris and equipment scattered on walkways
  • Unsafe flooring
  • Unstable or defective ladders
  • Lack of warning signs in high-risk areas

A fall from a residential roof or ladder can result in broken bones, injuries to the head and spinal cord, and, in some cases, wrongful death. If a worker falls from even higher elevations, such as a scaffold or unfinished floor of a tall office building, then the resulting injuries are almost always catastrophic or fatal.

Construction workers are vulnerable not only to falls, but also to falling objects and debris. No matter how your accident happened, it is important to know your legal rights and what you may be entitled to based upon the circumstances. A construction accident lawyer from our firm will work to pursue compensation from all available sources.

Can I File a Third Party Claim for a Construction Fall Injury?

If you sustain a catastrophic construction injury or lose a loved one due to a fall, then you can typically file a workers compensation claim against your employer. Generally, contractors and other employers maintain workers comp insurance for their employees’ work injuries, regardless of fault. However, your recovery through workers compensation is usually limited. As a result, many find that these claims do not cover all of their medical bills and other expenses, and it does not cover the full amount of last wages. Furthermore, workers comp laws usually prevent employees from filing personal injury lawsuits directly against employers.

However, if negligence by any company or individual not affiliated with your employer contributed to your accident, then you can file a separate third party claim to recover additional compensation. In most cases, it is rare for just one party to bear full responsibility for a fall. Other liable parties often include:

  • The equipment manufacturer. Defects in the fall prevention equipment may cause it to fail, compounding a worker’s fall injuries. If so, then the manufacturer may be liable for the resultant damages.
  • Other contractors and their employees. Negligence by other companies can create dangerous situations, causing or contributing to a serious fall. For example, an electrician may leave wires on a scaffold, causing a roofer to trip and fall from the scaffold. In this case, the electrician’s employer may be liable in a third party claim.
  • The construction site owner. You may have grounds for a claim against the site owner as well, if he or she failed to address certain dangerous conditions, leading to a fall.

Often, victims and families may not know who is to blame after an accident. An experienced construction accident lawyer can fully investigate the circumstances and identify all possible defendants on your behalf.

Fall Cause Your Construction Injury? Contact a Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a fall at a construction site, then you may be entitled to financial recovery beyond workers compensation. Call or contact our Philadelphia law firm online to speak with a knowledgeable construction accident lawyer about your legal options.

We have offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and represent clients nationwide. We offer free initial consultations and handle cases on a contingency fee basis; you do not pay attorney fees unless we get results for you.