The Case of the Faulty Scaffolding

Waukegan, IL medical malpractice attorney Scott Gibson talks about an important case he took on involving a construction worker.

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Construction injuries run, you know, from – anything from scaffolding falling apart to roofers falling off of a roof to barricades releasing. I mean there are so many different fact patterns. But one of our many, many cases that springs to mind is there was a union tile setter, in other words, he is one of the gentlemen who builds scaffolding, and he then builds the tiles in the ceilings in large buildings, large office buildings, gymnasiums, that type of thing. It’s very difficult work, it’s all overhead, it involves a lot of scaffolding and unique knowledge.

One day, he finished his week, it was Friday, and he had built a scaffold. He was at a construction site of about a $250 million office complex. And that Friday, he left his scaffold just like he normally would, went home and came back on Monday morning. Scaffold was there. He then started his work and right when – at the beginning, as he climbed up the side of the scaffold, the scaffold ladder fell and he ended up falling and severely injuring his knees to the point where he had to have knee replacements and he was never going – he never went back to his work. He never went back to the trades. He never went back to physical work. He was a young man in his early ’40s. So that was devastating because it took away his livelihood.

What we were able to find is that over the weekend a painting crew had come by and the rules were that they were supposed to use their own scaffolding. Well, they saw some scaffolding, they decided not to follow the rules. They evidently had adjusted the scaffolding for their use and had put it back but had not put it back correctly and there was no way in the world that our client could have known that. So that case, again, resulted in a very significant result. Actually, that client comes by and sees us once a year or so and the trust that was set up for him provides for his needs now that he’s in his 60s.