Struck-by hazards are one of OSHA’s “fatal four” causes of work-related deaths and injuries. The construction industry has a high incident rate of falling object accidents, but falling object accidents can occur in any industry. Falling objects on a job site include tools, debris, materials, and other items.

Falling objects are a serious workplace safety concern. When an object strikes a worker, they can sustain severe injuries. Our Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys can help you file a claim if you’ve been struck by a falling object on the job.

Common Causes of Falling Object Accidents

Work accident happens for many reasons. Numerous factors could contribute to the cause of a falling object accident. A worker may be partially to blame for the cause, or a third party could share the blame for a falling object accident.

Common causes of falling objects include:

  • Lack of inspection and maintenance
  • Poorly secured items
  • Incorrect stacking and overloading
  • Defecting or malfunctioning machinery
  • Incorrectly stored building materials and tools
  • Lack of barricades and safety measures
  • Failing to install toeboards around scaffolding and grating
  • Incorrectly secured loads on cranes, hoists, and lifts
  • Improperly trained workers
  • Failing to install orange “snow fencing” around temporary work platforms and scaffolds
  • Lack of signage in hazardous areas

Workers should take precautions to protect themselves from falling objects, such as wearing a hard hat and protective gear. Employers should train workers in safety measures to avoid falling objects and institute safety guidelines that reduce the risk of falling object accidents. Unfortunately, falling object accidents still happen, causing severe injuries and deaths.

Injuries and Consequences of Falling Object Accidents

An object does not need to be large or overly heavy to cause severe injuries, especially when it falls from a great height. However, heavy objects often cause the worst injuries in a falling object accident. A worker could be crushed by a large or heavy object falling from a few stories above them.

Injuries caused by falling object accidents include:

Injuries caused by falling objects can result in substantial medical bills and lost wages. A worker injured by a falling object should seek immediate medical treatment. Tell the doctor your injuries are the result of an on-the-job accident. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan.

Report the incident to your employer or supervisor as soon as possible. Failing to report an accident or injury on the job could result in the loss of workers’ compensation benefits.

Legal Rights and Claim Process in Falling Object Accidents

Most workers in Georgia are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Georgia law requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage if they have three or more employees. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation oversees claims filed by injured workers.

Workers’ compensation is designed to help employees recover from an accident and return to work. It is a no-fault system, so workers can receive benefits without proving fault and if they contributed to the cause of their injury.

Workers’ comp benefits you could receive for a falling object accident include:

  • Temporary partial/total disability if you cannot work while you recover from your injuries
  • Medical care and treatment for injuries
  • Rehabilitation and career training if you cannot return to your previous occupation
  • Permanent disability benefits if you sustain a permanent impairment

Family members may receive death benefits if a falling object causes the death of a worker.

Falling objects accidents could also result in a personal injury claim against a third party. Generally, injured workers cannot sue their employers for damages. They are limited to workers’ compensation benefits. However, if a third party caused your injuries, you may be able to sue them under personal injury laws.

An example of a third-party claim might be an object falling from scaffolding because the scaffolding was defective. You might have a product liability claim against the scaffolding manufacturer. You may have a premises liability claim if a dangerous property condition caused your accident while working on another party’s property.

A third-party claim can result in additional compensation for damages. In a personal injury case, you could receive reimbursement for all loss of income. You may also receive compensation for your pain and suffering (non-economic damages), which are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

However, third-party claims are based on fault, unlike workers’ comp. You must prove that the other party caused your injuries in order to receive compensation. Additionally, if you contributed to the cause of your injuries, it could impact how much or if you receive compensation from a third-party claim.

Why Do You Need Experienced Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Falling Object Accidents?

Even though the workers’ compensation system is designed to assist injured workers, insurance companies and employers often try to avoid paying claims. Therefore, your claim for a falling object accident may be denied. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file an appeal and fight for the benefits you deserve.

Ways that a workers’ comp attorney can help include:

  • Investigate the cause of the falling object accident and identify any parties who could be liable for a third-party claim
  • Assess your damages for a workers’ comp and third-party claim
  • Explain the Georgia workers’ compensation system, including the claims process and appeals
  • Provide you with sound legal advice regarding all legal options
  • Handle all paperwork and documentation for a workers’ comp and/or third-party claim
  • Consult expert witnesses to gather additional evidence for your claim when needed
  • Negotiate a fair workers’ comp settlement if you are partially or totally disabled because of a falling object accident
  • Monitor deadlines for filing claims and lawsuits
  • Help with complex cases
  • File legal actions and represent you in court if that becomes necessary

Contact Our Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Get help with a falling object accident by calling our office to schedule a consultation with the Georgia workers’ compensation attorney at Parsons Law Group. We are here to help you when you need a strong advocate to stand up for your rights after a workplace accident.