After five people were injured in a scaffolding collapse, a New York City Fire Department official said that it was “lucky” that more people weren’t hurt in the accident which investigators are now saying was caused by high winds.
Passerby Trapped Under Falling Debris
At around noon, emergency responders were called to the scene of a scaffolding collapse by witnesses who were already in the process of trying to free those trapped underneath the heavy metal and wood.
The scaffolding was placed around a building and over the entrance to a subway station. One of the witnesses even noted that they had been walking under the scaffolding just 15 minutes before. Once the fire department arrived, the three women and men were taken to the hospital where doctors reported that two were seriously injured but stable and the other three had sustained minor injuries.
After investigating the collapse it was determined that one of the plywood planks was blown free by the wind and “acted like a sail”, tearing through the structure around it and ultimately causing the collapse.
Should Scaffolding Be Taken Down During High Winds?
There are hundreds of rules and regulations created by OSHA which govern how scaffolding is constructed and used. While the regulations clearly state that “work on or from scaffolds is prohibited during storms or high winds”, there is nothing which states that the scaffolding needs to be completely taken down in the event of poor weather.
That doesn’t mean, however, that precautions shouldn’t be taken to secure any parts of the structure.
Who Will Pay The Victim’s Medical Bills?
Although it was confirmed that one of the women who was injured was a passerby, no one has noted if the other four injured people were employees or also innocent bystanders. Depending on their connection to the company who constructed the scaffolding they may have different options when it comes to obtaining compensation.
If one of the injured individuals is an employee, they should be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. These insurance claims are meant to pay for the medical expenses of anyone who is hurt on the job, however, a shocking number of these claims are denied, leaving injured workers with few options. Denials can be appealed but the applicant is much more likely to obtain coverage if they work with an experienced attorney.
If the injured individuals were just passing by, they may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to get the compensation that they need.
Under the law, if negligence occurred, the victims of the scaffolding collapse have the right to file a civil lawsuit in order to obtain compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and emotional distress. But it can be difficult to prove that negligence occurred which is why consulting with an attorney is so important.
Who Is A Lawsuit Filed Against?
The defendant can be any number of people or groups. It could be a contractor who failed to secure the plywood properly or a construction company. Or it could be both. An investigation of the accident will show who was negligent.
How Much Is A Scaffolding Lawsuit Worth?
The amount of money that may come from a lawsuit will vary greatly from case to case. This is because the compensation that is obtained is based on the losses that have been sustained by the plaintiff.
For example, if the plaintiff has already paid $200,000 in medical bills and is expected to have another $1 million on medical care over their lifetime, as well as lost wages, the goal is to obtain enough compensation to fully cover those losses. In addition to this, additional compensation can be obtained for non-monetary losses such as physical pain and suffering and emotional distress.
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