Roofing Accident Attorneys in New Jersey
Roofing is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most dangerous professions. Roofing work is hot and physically demanding, and it requires frequent heavy lifting, bending, kneeling, and climbing. During the summer months, overtime is often necessary to complete projects on time, putting even more strain on roofers’ bodies.
There were nearly 133,000 roofers employed in the U.S. in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For every 100,000 full-time roofers, an average of 23.8 roofers were killed by falls, and for every 10,000 roofers, 52.2 suffered nonfatal injuries. Roofing employment is expected to grow more than 10 percent by 2022, and the physical demands of the job keep the turnover rate high.
The majority of roofers learn as they go, with a smaller percentage coming up through an apprenticeship program. On-the-job training and a lack of standardized education requirements mean roofers have to trust their supervisors and coworkers to implement safety measures and follow best practices. Unfortunately, the demand to keep costs down and finish projects on time can lead to lax safety requirements and an increased risk of injury for roofers.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury due to a roofing accident, contact Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi. Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys will investigate thoroughly and fight vigorously on your behalf. You deserve justice and compensation for your injuries, and we can fight for you every step of the way.
What Safety Requirements Are In Place To Protect Workers?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines safety standards for the construction industry as a whole. The Code of Federal Regulations lays out specific systems and procedures for preventing falls from, on, or through working surfaces, as well as injuries from falling objects.
According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, fall protection is required anytime a roofer is 6 feet or more above a lower level. Additional protection is also required if workers can fall into dangerous equipment. Fall protection is required for certain areas and activities, including ramps, runways, and other walkways; hoist areas; leading edge work; unprotected sides and edges; overhand bricklaying and related work; roofing; residential construction; and more.
Employers are required to provide fall protection systems compatible with the type of work involved. Fall protection systems include:
- Guardrail systems
- Safety net systems
- Personal fall arrest systems
- Positioning device systems
- Warning line systems
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers have certain obligations and employees have certain rights. If an employer has violated OSHA regulations, it is a serious offense. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are prepared to fight for your safety and well-being in the workplace.
What Are the Common Causes of Roofing Accidents?
Roofers have a higher rate of work-related injuries and illnesses than the national average. Injuries can result from falling from roofs, ladders, or scaffolds; coming into contact with hot bitumen (a viscous mixture used in road surfacing and roofing); or being out in the heat for too long.
A study published in the Journal of Safety Research found that falls from roofs account for one-third of all fatal falls in construction. Nearly 70 percent of fatal falls from roofs occur in small construction establishments (1-10 employees), and roof fatalities are more common among roofers younger than 20 and older than 44.
Roofing accidents can be caused by:
- Insufficient training
- Inadequate equipment
- Failure to follow proper safety procedures
- OSHA Violations
Steep heights, dangerous pitches, uneven work surfaces, and lack of adequate tools or safety equipment can lead to serious, catastrophic, and fatal injuries to roofers. Adequate tools and safety equipment include elevated work platforms, safety harnesses, railings, planks, lifts, lanyards, and safe ways to hoist equipment and materials.
What Can Supervisors Do To Prevent Roofing Accidents?
Roofing accidents are often complex and involve multiple factors. However, there are certain steps every employer can take to minimize the risk of work-related accidents. Roofing supervisors should:
- Select and install appropriate fall protection systems
- Construct and install safety systems according to instructions
- Supervise employees properly
- Use safe work procedures
- Train workers in the proper selection, use, and maintenance of fall protection systems
What Injuries Can Roofing Accidents Lead To?
The higher a roofer is off the ground, the greater the severity of the fall. Depending on how high off the ground the roofer was, the conditions of the worksite, and external factors like fellow workers and safety systems, roofing-related injuries can vary widely.
Injuries caused by roofing accidents include:
- Skin lacerations
- Broken bones
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Back and torso injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Loss of limbs or amputation
- Spinal cord injuries
- Heat-related injuries
- Chemical burns and exposure to toxic chemicals
- Wrongful death
What Can You Win in a Personal Injury Case?
Compensatory damages are designed to reimburse the patient for certain losses, including:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
Plaintiffs can also collect non-economic damages for intangible losses like pain and suffering or emotional trauma. There are no caps on compensatory or non-economic damages in the state of New Jersey.
In cases of extreme negligence or outrageous conduct, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent party for particularly egregious conduct, and they are capped at $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages (whichever is greater) in New Jersey.
Personal injury cases must be filed within two years of the incident in the state of New Jersey. If a lawsuit is not filed within two years, you or your loved ones could forfeit your day in court and lose out on compensation for injuries. It is important to contact an experienced attorney sooner rather than the later, as a proper investigation and determination of fault takes time.
Contact a New Jersey Roofing Accident Lawyer
Roofing remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. The majority of roofers are not provided with fall protection systems on a job site, leading to serious, catastrophic, and even fatal injuries. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are prepared to fight for you both in and out of court. You deserve an experienced personal injury attorney who will investigate your accident fully and hold the negligent party accountable. Contact us at (201) 585-9111 or fill out a quick inquiry form to schedule your free and confidential consultation.