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Who Can You Sue in a Skylight Injury Lawsuit?

Posted by Inna Gorin | Dec 23, 2023

You might not think it, but skylight accidents always happen and can cause serious, sometimes even fatal, injuries. Most skylight accidents happen when someone is on the roof of a house or building and steps on the skylight.

The victim can plummet to the floor below when the skylight breaks beneath them. Additionally, if the skylight breaks and people stand beneath it, they are also at risk for injury.

Who Can You Sue in a Skylight Injury Lawsuit?
If you were injured in a skylight accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Skylight injuries happen in many different ways. Sometimes, the injuries are life-threatening or fatal. If you are a victim of a skylight accident, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit might be the best way to recover the compensation you deserve.  If you were on the job at the time, you may have a workers' compensation claim.

Somebody's negligence likely causes skylight injuries. Depending on the details, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the building for not installing protective fencing or cages on the skylight.

You might be able to sue the company that installed the skylight for not providing protective measures, the company that made the protective cage or fence if it failed to prevent your injuries, or perhaps the company that designed the skylight for having a defective design that made it hazardous.

As noted, if a skylight injured you while you were at work, you would likely file a workers' compensation claim instead of bringing a lawsuit. Workers' compensation cases are faster and less formal.

However, workers' compensation claims tend not to recover as much as personal injury lawsuits. For example, you can rarely get pain and suffering through workers' comp.

If your family member died in a skylight accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Wrongful death damages typically include burial and funeral expenses, Income the victim would have earned, and compensation for the loss of the victim's companionship and support.

How Do Skylight Injuries Happen?

The most common type of skylight accident occurs when workers stand on a skylight. Usually, roof repair workers or inspectors are the ones who will suffer from such an injury during their employment. Thus, a common skylight injury is falling through a skylight while you are on the roof doing repairs or inspections.

The most severe skylight injuries happen when you are on the roof and the skylight breaks underneath you. Skylights can also break and fall on you below. They can also leak and cause you to slip and fall on rainwater that pools on the floor below.

In California, skylights should be fenced off to prevent unaware workers from wandering onto them or covered with a metal cage to prevent workers from falling through if they do. When cages are used, they must be able to hold 200 pounds or more; if it is fenced in, the railing must be at least 42 inches high.

Unfortunately, when rooftop workers fall through a skylight, it tends to be an extremely severe injury. Many times, it is fatal.

Falling accidents often happen when you step onto skylights covered in snow.  Accidents can also occur when you lose balance while working and lean on the skylight. These accidents are often severe or fatal, especially when falling is more than 10 feet.

Standing Below a Skylight that Breaks

Other cases involve individuals who are standing under a skylight when it breaks. If the skylight was improperly installed or had water damage, it cannot hold its own weight.

The glass can shatter when the skylight becomes too heavy for its support beams. The falling glass could seriously injure anyone standing under the skylight when it breaks.

If the skylight leaks, water can deteriorate the surrounding support beams. As the beams crumble, the weight of the glass in the skylight can become too heavy. If you are underneath the skylight when it breaks, you can get severely hurt.

Slip and Fall Risks for Leaking Skylights

While ceilings are usually easy to seal against the weather outside, skylights are much more difficult. When poorly ceiled skylights leak from rainwater or condensation, water can drip on the floor below.

Passersby could slip and fall on the puddle these droplets create. This is especially dangerous for elderly victims who suffer more from falls. If unaware of the problem, you can slip, fall in the puddle, and get hurt.

While far less severe than other skylight injuries, these slips and falls could cause serious injuries, especially if you are elderly and unable to break your fall.

What Are the Types of Lawsuits for Skylight Accidents?

There are several types of lawsuits a victim or their families may be able to pursue when suffering an injury from a skylight accident.


In all the above situations, the victims could have been injured because of someone else's negligence. You may be entitled to compensation if you are hurt because of the other person's disregard for your safety.

To determine whether someone was negligent, you must decide if they had a duty of care for you. Generally, the following people have a duty of care for injured individuals:

  • The company that made the protective cage or fence.
  • The company that designed the skylight.
  • The company that installed the skylight.
  • The owner of the building.

Workers' Compensation

Most skylight accidents happen to workers while they are working. Workers' compensation is a special type of insurance employers have that compensates employees for an accident they suffered while working. The compensation is for medical bills and lost wages, but you may recover for pain and suffering in rare instances.

What About Wrongful Death Claims?

If an individual is killed because of an accident related to a skylight, their family can bring a wrongful death claim on the deceased's behalf. Wrongful death claims allow the family to recover damages for:

  • The victim's burial and funeral expenses,
  • Loss of companionship and support,
  • Pain and suffering and disfigurement, and
  • Income the victim would have earned in their lifetime.

Can Emergency Responders Bring Lawsuits?

California law limits when emergency responders can bring a personal injury suit. Firefighters, police officers, and EMTs are usually the first responders who could suffer from a skylight accident while on the job.

Emergency Responder Hurt in a Skylight Accident

 This law, called the “Firefighter's Rule,” prevents them from recovering damages for injuries integral to performing their jobs.

But, if the emergency responder suffered an injury because of negligence that unreasonably increased the expected risk, or the skylight violated state or federal regulations, they have a better chance of bringing a claim to recover for their injuries.

Routine skylight maintenance and inspections are crucial for preventing accidents. Building owners must ensure that skylights are regularly checked for signs of damage, such as cracks or loose fittings.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine the best lawsuit for your injuries. Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free case evaluation. The Injury Justice Law Firm has offices in Los Angeles, California.

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About the Author

Inna Gorin

Inna Gorin, the founding Partner of Injury Justice Law Firm modeled the Firm after her ideals and principles of what skilled, aggressive and tenacious representation of individual clients should embody. Ms. Gorin's mission is to level the playing field, and provide her clients with the same level...


If you have been injured in an accident, our experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys will protect your legal rights and help you recover compensation for your injuries. We are available 24/7 for your risk free initial consultation in Beverly Hills, Encino, Glendale, Hermosa Beach, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Marina Del Rey, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Santa Monica, San Fernando Valley, Valencia and Ventura County areas.