If you work in construction, you are familiar with scaffolding. According to the United States Department of Labor, 65% of all construction workers use scaffolding. Construction workers aren’t the only ones who use scaffolds to do their jobs. Painters and window washers also use scaffolding in their work.
If you have been involved in a scaffolding accident, or if you have lost a loved one as a result of a scaffolding accident, you need the right kind of information to help guide you through this difficult period of your life.
Scaffolding Safety and Your Scaffolding Accident
There are several types of scaffolds that can be used on job sites. These include:
- Supported scaffolding; and
- Suspended scaffolding.
Supported scaffolds are built from the ground up and have rigid supports such as brackets, poles or legs to form the scaffold. The frame scaffold is the most commonly used type of supported scaffold. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that frame scaffolding have either a personal fall arrest system or a guardrail system that meets OSHA’s specifications.
OSHA requirements for frame scaffolding include:
- That vertical safety lines be attached to safe points of anchorage without abrasive or sharp edges nearby;
- That vertical safety lines’ points of anchorage are not on the scaffolding system itself;
- That guardrail systems, when used, must surround the fronts and the sides of the scaffolding; and
- That guardrail systems’ tops must be between 36 and 45 inches high.
Suspended scaffolding is suspended from above using ropes or another type of flexible material. Two point scaffolding, also called swing stage scaffolds, are the most commonly used type of suspended scaffolding. OSHA requirements for two point scaffolding include the same safety requirements for frame scaffolding as detailed above.
Common Causes of Scaffolding Accidents in Chicago
A number of situations can lead to scaffolding accidents and the resulting worksite injuries. Some of the most common causes of scaffolding accidents include:
- Debris falling from above;
- Improper installation of safety lines;
- Poor safety training;
- Ignoring safety training;
- Equipment failure;
- Improperly built scaffolding;
- Manufacturing defects in scaffolding or safety equipment and materials;
- Design defects in scaffolding or safety equipment and materials; and
- Accidents involving forklifts or other moving vehicles.
Scaffolding accidents can also result in injuries to those below the scaffolding if it collapses or falls. It is not necessary that you were on the scaffolding at the time you were injured in order to file a personal injury lawsuit related to the Illinois worksite accident. If you were injured “indirectly” from a scaffolding accident in Chicago, you may have grounds for a claim.
Scaffolding Accidents in Chicago & Illinois’ Statute of Limitations
Every state follows a statute of limitations, or the time period during which a person is allowed to file a lawsuit. While this may seem unfair at first glance, statutes of limitations are actually in place to protect public interest.
If you are allowed an unlimited amount of time to file a lawsuit, evidence can be lost, paperwork can be misplaced and witnesses’ memories can change. It is in your best interest to contact a qualified Chicago construction accident lawyer as quickly as possible to address your case when the facts of the worksite injuries are fresh.
In Illinois, you usually have 2 years from the date of the scaffolding accident in which file a personal injury lawsuit. Remember that if you have accepted Workers’ Compensation, you will be unable to file a lawsuit against your employer or any fellow employees. Any injury claims will have to be brought against liable third parties.
The statute of limitations for product liability-in cases of defective scaffolding-is also 2 years. If a family member died as a result of a scaffolding accident, you have 2 years from the date of death to file a wrongful death suit. While this may seem overwhelming when you have lost a loved one or are healing from a serious accident, you do not need to feel alone in this task. A qualified Chicago construction accident lawyer will be able to guide you through the process of deciding what the best avenues for legal actions are for your case.
When to Hire a Chicago Construction Accident Lawyer
You need to get a qualified Chicago construction accident lawyer as soon as you are able. Your best chance at receiving the damages that you deserve is to have an experienced Chicago construction accident lawyer on your side.
The Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C. have tried many cases like yours and know the best ways to handle your worksite injuries case. For a free evaluation of your case contact us today – 312-263-1080.