Falls are one of the most common forms of construction accidents. Defective equipment, deficient training, and improper fall protection procedures commonly lead to falls. You should always consult a lawyer for a fall at a construction site. Several parties, from equipment manufacturers to property owners, might bear some liability for your injuries.

A thorough investigation by a construction accident lawyer is critically important after a fatal fall. Without the accident victim’s explanation about what happened, unscrupulous employers may try to cover up the cause of the death. A construction site lawyer can investigate the workplace accident and determine whether anyone bears liability for the death.

Here is an overview of the issues that can arise around accidental falls at construction sites.

Types of Falls at Construction Sites

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines a fall as losing balance or bodily support. Falls come in two types:

Same-Level Falls

In a same-level fall, you lose your footing and fall to the same surface or a surface less than four feet below you. Same-level falls include slips and falls on wet surfaces. They also include trips and falls when you fall onto the same surface where you tripped.

Elevated Falls

An elevated fall happens when you fall four feet or more from one surface to another. At even just four feet, an elevated fall can cause serious injuries or even death.

OSHA includes several types of falls in its definition, such as:

  • Fall from one floor to another floor or the ground
  • Fall into a hole at a construction site
  • Fall from a roof at a construction site
  • Fall through a roof opening, such as a skylight
  • Fall from a ladder at a construction site
  • Fall from scaffolding
  • Jump from structures or equipment
  • Fall into or onto equipment.

OSHA requires employers, including construction companies and building contractors, to provide fall protection against elevated falls. Fall protection can include guardrails, safety nets, and harnesses.

The requirements for fall protection on construction sites depend on the type of fall hazard. Some important guidelines for preventing falls include:

  • General surfaces at construction sites must have fall protection at six feet.
  • Scaffolds must have fall protection at ten feet.
  • Dangerous equipment must have fall protection regardless of height.

It might seem like common sense for construction companies and contractors to provide these safety measures, but, according to OSHA, the most common violation committed by employers is a failure to provide fall protection.

Outcomes of Falls at Construction Sites

Falls are the leading cause of construction accident deaths. In 2020, falls accounted for about 35% of construction fatalities. That year, 351 construction workers died in falls at construction sites.

Nonfatal falls can still cause serious, even catastrophic, injuries. Fatal and nonfatal injuries happen due to the impact of the body on a surface at the end of the fall. The force of impact damages tissue by stretching, compressing, bending, and twisting the tissue.

Some injuries that can result from a fall include:

Bone Fractures

Bones fracture when they are hit with a force that exceeds their structural strength. Doctors treat bone fractures by immobilizing the bone with a cast or brace. Bone fractures typically heal in six to eight weeks. But when a bone shatters into three or more pieces, it could take up to a year to heal.

Soft Tissue Injuries

The impact of a fall can do the following:

  • Stretch or tear ligaments, tendons, and muscles
  • Tear cartilage
  • Crush vertebral discs.

Depending on the location of the injury, your doctor might only prescribe rest to allow the soft tissue injury to heal, but some soft tissue injuries may require surgery to repair the damage.

Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury is one of the most catastrophic injuries you can suffer. Your spinal cord carries nerve signals between your brain and your body. When your spinal cord is severed, you will experience paralysis and loss of sensation below the injury.

Falls can damage the spinal cord by fracturing a vertebra. Bone fragments from the fracture can migrate into the spinal canal and sever some or all of the nerves in the spinal cord.

You can injure your spinal cord if you fall onto something that penetrates your spine. For example, if you fall onto building materials and a piece of metal penetrates your back, it could sever your spinal cord.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain injuries happen when your brain gets jostled inside your skull. Again, the impact of a fall can cause your brain to move violently inside your skull.

If your brain strikes the inside of your skull, you can develop a brain contusion. This bruise inside your brain will deprive brain cells of blood. It will also cause your brain to swell, squeezing undamaged blood vessels. In many cases, a brain contusion will result in permanent brain damage, coma, or death.

Liability for Falls at Construction Sites

A Lawyer for a Fall at a Construction Site Can Help You Pursue the Responsible Party

Under Georgia law, all employers with three or more workers must have workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, general contractors may be liable for providing workers’ compensation insurance for employees of subcontractors.

If your employer has workers’ comp insurance, you can claim benefits for on-the-job falls at construction sites. These benefits provide full medical coverage and partial disability payments.

Workers’ compensation law bars you from suing your employer in most situations. But you can sue third parties who caused your fall. Thus, you might have a claim against:

  • Manufacturers of defective equipment
  • Other contractors or vendors, such as a scaffolding rental company
  • Property owners who created hazardous conditions, like limiting where you could put ladders.

If you can prove that the third party failed to exercise reasonable care and caused your accident, you can get damages to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A lawyer for your fall at a construction site will review your accident and assess whether you might have a third-party lawsuit.

Why Choose Us?

Many injury lawyers handle construction accidents. But before you hire a lawyer, you should discuss the lawyer’s experience with construction cases. Experience has value when maximizing your injury payout. Your lawyer for a fall at a construction site should have handled cases involving similar issues.

Our firm has represented numerous construction workers and land developers and obtained fair results in their cases.

To discuss your fall at a construction site and the compensation you might seek for it, contact The Stoddard Firm at 470-467-2200 to schedule a free consultation.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Matt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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