A Guide to Claiming Scaffolding Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a scaffolding accident we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a scaffolding accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

Data published by the National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) states that the number of accidents involving scaffolding reported by its members rose 9% in 2014.

Many scaffolding accidents result in injury to the scaffold operator or construction worker using the scaffolding. Some accidents injure innocent passers-by or site visitors.

Work accident claims and occupiers liability claims on behalf of passers-by and visitors can usually be made in each case.

The majority of scaffolding accidents could be avoided with the correct health and safety measures in place. Employers and occupiers who fail in their duty of care to staff, visitors and the public are likely to be liable for injuries that arise out of accidents resulting from these breaches.

Do I have a scaffolding injury claim?

It should be possible to make a scaffolding injury claim if you were injured:

  • in the last three years and;
  • someone else was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To find out for sure, speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

How much compensation can I claim for a scaffolding injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your scaffolding injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your scaffolding injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a scaffolding injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple scaffolding injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious head injury can be £30,000

For a less serious shoulder injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £5,200.

However, if you have a serious head injury and a less serious shoulder injury, you would typically receive £30,000 + a reduced percentage of £5,200.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

What is the average injury compensation for a scaffolding injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a scaffolding injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your scaffolding injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

I can't find my injury in the table, can I still claim?

The table is a list of the most common injuries associated with a scaffolding injury claim. You can see the full list of injury awards here: Judicial College Injury Tables.

Scaffolding injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a scaffolding injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your scaffolding injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a scaffolding injury claim take?

The length of time needed to get compensation for a scaffolding accident can vary significantly.

For example, if your employer or their insurance company accepts liability, a claim can settle in a matter of weeks. If liability is denied, however, it could take significantly longer. Usually, a work accident claim should take 6 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a scaffolding injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your scaffolding injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Common causes of scaffolding accidents

Scaffolding should be used as a temporary structure to support workers and materials during the construction, maintenance and repair of buildings and other constructions.

When used correctly and within legal requirements, scaffolding is regarded as being a safer alternative to a ladder when working at height.

One of the most obvious dangers involved in the use of a scaffold is working at height. Another significant reason accidents occur is the incorrect assembly of the scaffold by an untrained worker, or the use of damaged or substituted parts. This can lead to collapse, partial collapse or movement of safety rails or boards.

Other causes of scaffold accidents include:

  • Incorrect manual handling of the scaffold
  • Using scaffolding when wet
  • Leaving tools and materials on the scaffold which can cause trip accidents or which could fall injuring someone below

The main types of scaffolding accidents include slips, trips and falls on the same level and falls from height.

These types of accident are responsible for many workplace injuries each year. An object falling from scaffolding is a common cause of injury to members of the public.

Typical injuries

Quittance's panel of injury solicitors have assisted with scaffolding accident claims for lacerations, broken bones, back injuries, neck, head and brain injuries.

In addition to the potentially serious injuries that can be sustained in a scaffolding accident, injured people also sustained other losses, having to pay medical bills and travel expenses and through loss of earnings.

Compensation exists specifically to account for the pain and suffering experienced and for these financial losses.

Legislation protecting workers

There are three main pieces of regulation in place aimed at protecting people from scaffold accidents in a work environment. These pieces of legislation also ensure that negligent parties can be held responsible when accidents do happen.

Work at Height Regulations 2005

Intended to prevent injuries caused by a fall from height, these regulations impose a responsibility on employers to make sure work is ‘properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people'. Employers should take into account all possible dangers and manage risk.

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

This requires that employers ensure all work equipment is suitable for use. Regular maintenance and inspection should be carried out. Employers should also take appropriate measures to provide adequate safety in terms of both hardware and training.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

Where there are risks to health and safety that cannot be controlled in other ways, these regulations guide the correct provision and maintenance of suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as safety helmets, by the employer.

For scaffold accidents which involve members of the public who may have been injured when passing by, different rules apply. If, for example, they were hit by a pole falling which feel from the scaffold, they could sue the company responsible for the scaffold for negligence.

The duty owed by companies to the public to prevent injury by falling objects, scaffolding and other hazards, generally comes under the common law ‘duty of care'.

Proving liability in scaffold accidents

If any of the above regulations are not adhered to, an employer may be held liable and made to pay compensation for injuries sustained by the claimant. In order for this to happen, it must be shown that their action or inaction was the cause of the scaffold accident.

Evidence that would help prove negligence includes:

  • Medical reports
  • Witness evidence
  • Photographs of the scene
  • Accident books

Even with evidence, the process of making a claims be complicated. Many site contractors have their own legal team who will look for ways to counter the claim.

The employer may look to prove ‘contributory negligence' in their defence, disputing full liability. They could, for example, argue that the claimant played a part in causing the accident as they were following correct procedures at the time. If successful they would avoid paying the full compensation fee.

For injured members of the public, proving liability can be more straightforward, but negligence would need to be demonstrated in the same way.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee

Under a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay whatsoever if your claim is not successful.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your scaffolding injury.

What do I pay if I win my scaffolding injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my scaffolding injury claim?

If your scaffolding injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees.

Read more about how no win, no fee works

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Scaffolding injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a scaffolding injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the scaffolding injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your scaffolding injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a scaffolding injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim scaffolding injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a scaffolding injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert