Wrongful Death Suit Filed in Scaffolding Collapse
Charlotte, NC Attorney
Last January, the families of three workers killed in a North Carolina scaffolding accident that occurred in March 2015 filed a wrongful death suit against four companies that were either involved in the project or supplied the scaffolding that failed in the accident. The three deceased workers men worked for a subcontractor that was helping to erect a $54 million office building adjacent to the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center. The families are unable to sue the subcontractor because, under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation statute, employers who provide for workers’ compensation coverage are insulated from lawsuits if they have not committed any intentional wrongdoing against their employees.
Alleged Negligence and Wrongful Death
Section 28A-18-2 of North Carolina Statutes defines wrongful death as death “caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.” The statute states that a wrongful death claim is appropriate if, had the injured person lived, he or she would have been entitled to damages for their personal injuries. A wrongful death suit is similar to a personal injury suit but the injured person is no longer alive to seek civil remedies in court.
According to the wrongful death suit in this case, the general contractor on the worksite acted negligently in forcing the subcontractor to dismantle the scaffold quickly, so sections of it were being loaded onto the platform where the workers were standing. That platform had a maximum weight limit of 2,500 pounds. However, with the scaffolding equipment present on the platform, it was bearing 4,200 pounds at the time of the accident. Additionally, the scaffolding mast climber that goes up and down the side of a building to take workers to different floors was not properly anchored to the building. The lawsuit alleges that these two factors together caused the scaffolding to fall.
The plaintiffs also allege that the companies who provided the scaffolding equipment failed to provide proper training on how to install the equipment and how to operate the mast climber. The attorney representing the families stated that if the simple protocols involved in building, inspecting and operating the scaffold equipment were followed, this horrific construction accident would have been prevented.
Occupational Safety and Health Citations
Last September, three of the companies involved in the incident were fined for violating established safety standards. The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Division conducted an investigation and found that the scaffolding company committed three willful violations and one serious violation by loading more weight than the structure was designed to hold and did not have a trained person on-site to oversee operations and ensure that procedures were followed so a scaffolding collapse would be prevented. North Carolina OSH Division fined the company $152,000. Two other companies were apparently each fined $4,200 for other serious violations of the safety standards.
Bice Law, LLC, can help you seek compensation by filing a wrongful death suit on your behalf if your loved one died because of another person or company’s negligence in North or South Carolina. Contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free number at 877-BICE-877 or by submitting our online form. Consulting an attorney as early as possible in your case can make difference, so do not hesitate to contact us today.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.