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New Jersey man makes $3.2 million claim after scaffold fall

A work injury can sideline an employee and the individual's income indefinitely, sometimes permanently. Accidents among construction workers can be devastating – heavy equipment disasters, injuries from being hit by objects and falls from high elevations are all too common. The diagnoses often go beyond mendable broken bones to paralyzing or life-threatening head and spine injuries.

The victim of a scaffolding fall on a New Jersey construction site has requested $3.2 million in damages. The one-time carpenter was injured in 2010 during a Jersey City renovation project. The defendants in the case are three companies associated with the high-rise building project.

The former construction worker claims he fell, struck the scaffold and then dropped to the ground. The 59-year-old man was hospitalized with shoulder, spine, rib and lung damage. The victim couldn't breathe without a ventilator until doctors performed thoracic surgery, one of three operations the man would endure that also included rotator cuff surgery and spinal fusion.

The Woodbridge ex-carpenter sufferes back and shoulder problems nearly four years after the fall and is unable to work. Reports did not state why the plaintiff blamed the defendants for the accident. The specifics of the damages sought also were not detailed.

Federal inspectors from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued more citations in 2013 for fall protection violations than any other workplace safety hazards. Scaffolding infractions were listed as the third most cited violation. More than 19 percent of all 4,175 workplace fatalities in 2012 were among construction workers.

Falls were responsible for more than 34 percent of the deaths among 806 construction fatalities in 2012. OSHA ranks falls as the greatest threat among the so-called Fatal Four construction accidents. The other three top dangers include accidental electrocutions and workers being struck by or caught in or between objects -- deadly accidents, when combined, still don't add up to the number of fall fatalities.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Jury awards Woodbridge man $3.2 million for injuries suffered in 2010 construction accident" Sue Epstein, May. 02, 2014

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