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Pennsauken Worksite Accidents – Falling Objects

New Jersey Hit by Falling Objects Lawyer

Most people don’t think about the possibility of being hit by a falling object in their everyday lives. Yet, falling objects are one of the top four causes of workplace injuries in the United States. They’re also a common cause of injuries in everyday life, both at home and in public. 

Many injuries caused by falling objects can be prevented. Builders have a responsibility to build houses, stores, and other buildings in a way that minimizes the risk of building parts falling and striking those around the work site. Companies that sell household goods have a responsibility to provide items that don’t pose an unreasonable risk of falling down or falling over when they are used as intended. Businesses have a duty to keep patrons safe from known risks, like the risk of items falling from overloaded store shelves, such as heavy boxes, tools, and other equipment. 

If you’ve been injured by a falling object, you probably want to know what happened. You may wonder if you can do anything to prevent anyone else from suffering as you have. You may struggle with everyday activities due to your injuries, dealing with pain and limited mobility on top of doctor’s appointments and other demands. You may worry about how you’re going to pay the bills and support your family as you recover. 

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Talk to an experienced injury lawyer today. The legal team at Petrillo and Goldberg is here to help. 

Falling Objects Injury Statistics

Every year, more than 50,000 workers across the United States suffer workplace injuries caused by falling objects, the U.S. Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports. On average, about 116 workers are injured every day, and one worker is injured every 10 minutes due to a falling object.

A falling object can become a potentially deadly projectile, depending on its weight and the height from which it fell. A wrench that weighs eight pounds and is dropped from a height of at least 200 feet would strike whatever it hit with 2,833 pounds per square inch. That easily could kill someone it struck, and it would land with the same force as a small car slamming into an area about one square inch in size.

Workers aren’t the only people at risk of serious injuries from falling objects. Every year, people are also injured in public places like schools and shops by falling objects. Some people suffer injuries from falling objects in their own homes. 

Types of Injuries Caused by Falling Objects

The force of a falling object increases as it falls. The heavier an object is, the more force it has as well. A heavy object, a long fall, or both can result in severe injuries to anyone who is hit by the falling object. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries 

Traumatic brain injuries can be “closed” or “penetrating.” A closed brain injury occurs when the brain is injured inside the skull. For instance, a concussion caused by an object falling from scaffolding and striking a worker in the head is a type of closed brain injury.

A penetrating brain injury occurs when an object pierces the skull and injures the brain. An object that falls with enough force to penetrate the skull may cause this type of brain injury.

Head, Neck, and Back Injuries

Even if the brain escapes injury, the head, neck, or back may be injured by the force of a falling object. Fractured bones, damaged spinal discs, and other types of injuries can occur under the force of a falling object. 

For example, a falling object that knocks someone to the ground could cause head, neck, or back injuries. Injuries might come from being struck by the object or from the impact of hitting the ground or other objects in the area. 

Broken Bones

A falling object can cause broken or fractured bones. The object might break bones as it strikes the person, or the person might fracture bones due to falling as a result of the impact of the object. 

Broken bones can cause severe pain. Some broken bones require surgery to treat. Screws, rods, and other items may be implanted to keep the bones in place as they heal. Sometimes, this equipment is permanent; in other cases, the injured person may require additional surgeries to have the equipment removed. 

Many other types of injuries may occur when a falling object strikes a person. It is essential to get medical treatment as soon as possible after injury by a falling object. 

Where Does Injury by Falling Objects Occur?

Workplaces are one of the most common sites of injury by falling objects – but they’re not the only place a person can suffer harm. Falling objects in homes and in public places like retail stores can also result in serious injuries. 

Falling Objects at Home

Falling objects generally fall into one of two categories: static dropped objects and dynamic dropped objects. Both categories can cause injury in the home.

Static-dropped objects are items that fall due to their own weight. In the home, examples might include a picture that falls off the wall because the fastener holding it fails or a beam that crashes down due to rot. 

Static-dropped objects may seem to fall for “no reason” at first. However, every static dropped object falls for some reason, whether it’s wear and tear, rotting, corrosion, or another type of construction failure. Sometimes, the cause can be traced back to a specific person or company who failed in their responsibility to build a reasonably safe home or sell a reasonably safe product. 

Dynamic-dropped objects fall because another force causes them to fall. In the home, this might include someone dropping a tool while working on the roof or shaking a bookshelf until items fall from it. 

Dynamic-dropped objects are often accidental. The fact that they’re not dropped intentionally, however, doesn’t prevent them from causing injuries if they strike someone. Investigating the cause of a dropped object can help you determine if another party should be held accountable for the harm caused. 

Falling Objects at Work

Workplaces are one of the most common sites of falling object-related injuries. Common ways people are injured by falling objects at work include

  • Being hit by objects that fall off or are dropped from scaffolds, ladders, work platforms, and lifts,
  • Working under suspended loads on cranes or power trucks,
  • Using a gangway to travel to and from a worksite; and
  • Working under or near storage racks.

While the reported number of workplace injuries due to being hit by falling objects is high, the actual numbers are even higher. OSHA reports many workplace injuries and accidents caused by falling objects go unreported. Often, that is because one worker does not realize another had been struck, or they are working in more confined areas with less supervision.

Many employers focus on providing safety harnesses and other equipment that prevents workers from falling while working at height. Unfortunately, many do not provide the same precautions for preventing tools and other objects from falling. Those that do often use debris nets and other passive safety systems do not proactively prevent workers from dropping objects.

Lanyards, wristbands, and other safety gear that offers attachment points to tools help to eliminate the potential for another worker to be hit by falling objects. Most safety equipment used at height, though, is designed to protect the worker from injuries caused by falling. Initiating measures that prevent dropped tools protects other workers from injuries. It also demonstrates the ability of employers to provide a work environment that is relatively safe from falling objects.

Falling Objects in Public

When you go about your daily life, you may not be guarding against items falling and hitting you. Yet falling objects in public can cause serious injuries just like they can at home or at work.

A few examples of falling object injuries during daily life include:

  • Soup cans falling from a grocery shelf onto nearby shoppers. 
  • Chunks of concrete falling from a highway overpass onto cars or pedestrians below.
  • A defectively-installed overhead light falling onto restaurant patrons as they dine. 
  • Artwork falling off the wall of a hotel room onto sleeping guests. 

Many other injuries caused by falling objects in public are also possible. If you’ve been injured by a falling object while you’re out in the world, talk to an experienced attorney. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights. 

What to Do If You’re Injured by a Falling Object

If you’re injured by a falling object, seek medical attention as soon as possible. A medical exam can document the extent of your injuries and start you on the path to recovery. 

Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer for information following a falling object injury. The legal team at Petrillo and Goldberg can help you understand your legal rights, so you can choose the best course of action for yourself and your family. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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