Easton & Easton recently acquired $2,000,000 for a client who fell from a 2 story scaffolding while assisting the HOA President in trying to remove eaves on the second story of a townhome façade. The HOA President had negligently erected the scaffolding, but the Defendants contended that our client had negligently brought a ladder to the top of the scaffold and was working on the ladder when he fell. The Defendants also argued that our client had actually climbed onto the roof of the building and become dizzy before he fell, such that they believed he was 100% liable for his own injuries, regardless of whether he fell from the roof or the ladder he negligently brought on top of the scaffold.
In the litigation process, we discovered that the HOA had no workers compensation insurance and that the HOA President did not have a contractor’s license for this kind of work. Because work on a scaffold requires a contractor’s license, we used regulations under the Labor Code to show that our client was technically an “employee” of the HOA at the time of his injury, such that this was actually an employment-related injury. However, because the HOA had no workers compensation insurance to pay for employee injuries, this employment-related injury was therefore presumed to result from employer negligence under the Labor Code. Additionally, we showed that these laws prevented the employer from claiming any comparative negligence, assumption of the risk, or co-employee negligence defenses that they would have used to shift the blame to our client, thereby essentially making the HOA strictly liable for our client’s injuries, which included multiple skull fractures and a traumatic brain injury. Through this intricate strategy of legal of reasoning, we convinced the HOA’s insurance carrier of their liability in this matter, even if our client had been on the roof or a ladder on the scaffolding when he fell, such that they paid their full $2,000,000 policy limits.