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In one New York City incident, two window washers were injured after they fell 20 feet because their scaffolding malfunctioned. (1)
A government agency analysis “lists 88 window cleaning accidents over a 15-year period, 62 of which resulted in fatalities,” according to HealthDay. (2)
Most of these incidents were falls, but not all. Some involved electrocution or electrical shock when window washers came into contact with power lines. (3)
Because window washing can be so dangerous, you should become familiar with the most common causes of accidents.
Based upon data gathered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most common causes of window washer accidents are: (4)
Of these, falls were by far the leading cause of accidents.
“Recent investigations by NIOSH suggest that fatal falls occur as a result of defective scaffold equipment, improper installation or operation, improper training of workers, or a failure to use appropriate personal fall protection equipment,” adds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (5)
The International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA), in cooperation with OSHA, cautions fall hazards may include, “things such as scaffolds, skylights, and different roof levels when working at elevated heights, and things such as retaining walls, balconies, and unprotected holes when working on the ground.” (6)
IWCA also identifies weather as a causal factor in accidents. Its guide cites extreme temperatures, windy conditions, and inclement weather as hazards. (7)
Window washer accidents, no matter the cause, often result in fatalities or life-changing injuries.
If you've been seriously injured in a window washing accident, filing a lawsuit can help you get the compensation you deserve.Get a Free Case Review
Injuries sustained in window washer accidents can result in traumatic injuries or death. This is especially true when falls are involved.
One study looked at the injury pattern for deceased victims of falls from heights in multiple circumstances. Researchers found, “Lacerations are mostly on the head… Subarachnoid haemorrhage is the commonest intracranial lesion.” (8)
After your life-changing accident, you may want to discuss your legal options with an attorney who can help determine your next steps.
Most accident lawsuits are personal injury cases. In these cases, the legal concept of negligence typically applies. To win damages, the plaintiff (person suing) must show the court the defendant (person or company being sued) was negligent.
Negligence is defined as “an individual’s failures to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” (14)
For example, if you are about to wash windows on a high rise building, you need a scaffold. It would be wise to be certain the scaffold is stable and in good repair before you use it.
Suppose you check the scaffold and find cracked pulleys and frayed suspension lines. Yet, your supervisor insists these are not badly cracked or frayed and it is the only scaffold available. He tells you to use it anyway.
When you do, the pulleys and suspension lines give way, and you start to slip. As you are trying to catch yourself, your weight shifts. The uneven weight distribution causes the scaffold to tip over, the lines snap, and you fall and are seriously injured.
Negligent coworkers, and businesses, can be held responsible when workers are injured on job sites.
In this example, your supervisor may be negligent. A scaffold, or its parts, in poor condition should never have been used.
Your supervisor may be responsible for knowing the equipment was too damaged and telling you to use it anyway. If your supervisor did not receive the proper training about what is considered usable equipment, the company employing you both may also be legally negligent.
However, let’s say the scaffold pulleys and suspension lines are in good repair, but the scaffold platform gives way while you are on it. This might be due to a defect in the scaffold itself or in the materials used to make the scaffold.
This would be a defective product liability lawsuit. Manufacturers bear responsibility for faulty equipment and products. So, the manufacturer of the scaffold could be held accountable for your injuries. Or the company responsible for providing the materials used to construct it.
If you've been injured in a window washing accident, please contact us today to discuss your legal options.(833) 544-0604
After you have sought medical attention, your next step should be to contact an attorney.
Your attorney investigates your claims and reviews your medical records. Your attorney wants to know what medical treatments you received and looks at your medical bills to see how much those treatments cost.
Next, your attorney makes a demand in an attempt to negotiate a settlement with the other party’s insurance company. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf and represents you in court.
It is important for you to have an experienced attorney representing you in order to get the best possible outcome for your case. Personal injury cases can be complicated, and negligence can be difficult to prove. An experienced attorney is able to successfully manage the details of your case.
Weitz & Luxenberg has an experienced personal injury team with a record of successful outcomes for our clients. These are some examples: