Ladder Injuries and Defects
If you have been injured in a ladder accident and feel another party may be responsible for your injuries please contact me for a free consultation. I have represented the injured in Sacramento and around California for over 30 years and you can read more about my experience on this page: Sacramento personal injury attorney.
In the United States, over 500,000 people are hurt in falls from ladders each year. 164,000 of these people sustain injuries serious enough to land them in the local emergency room. You do not have to be up in the clouds to be hurt; most ladder injuries occur at 6 – 8 feet off of the ground.
Ladder injuries have increased 50% in just the past 10 years.
The most common injuries from ladder accidents are fractures, however, the fall may result in a traumatic injury such as a brain injury, spinal cord injury, or even death. Over 700 people die each year from ladder accidents.
Ladder accidents happen due to product defects, improper safety equipment, inadequate training.
Here are some common ways in which Ladder accidents occur:
Placing a Ladder Incorrectly
The ground on which a ladder is placed should be firm and even. There should be a helper holding the ladder firmly at the base or it might be staked if it’s being used outside.
Above is an example of an a ladder accident happening because of an insecurely placed ladder.
Using a ladder Incorrectly
It’s important never to be stretching or reaching for anything on a ladder. This is a frequent cause of instability.
It’s a bit hard to watch but at around second 25 of the above video this guy is stretching to reach something with predictable results..
Using Old, worn or damaged Ladders:
Inspect ladders carefully for wood rot or other defects. There is a shelf life for ladders, the same as anything else.
Defects in the way the Ladder is constructed:
With more and more ladders being manufactured in China, and sold by American Distributors, you can expect to find many more defective ladders as time goes on. This is no being xenophobic in any way. Look at the recall figures from The Consumer Products Safety Commission. Most of the recalled items were manufactured in China.
Above is an animation used at trial to show a jury just how a ladder defect led to a serious injury.
Ladder injuries are very serious. Here’s a video of how a ladder fall changed one man’s life.
These cases should not be handled by Amateurs. Ladder manufacturers are their attorney’s are tenacious.
Here are just a few of the things that the attorney’s on both sides will ask will ask about and investigate:
Who was responsible for design of the ladder?
Were any suggestions for design changes made and rejected?
Who selected any materials used in construction?
Any warnings on the ladder?
Did anyone recommend any additional warnings>
Was it tested before it was sold?
Were any ASTM guidelines consulted?
How old was the ladder when used?
Was it inspected before use?
How frequently had it been used in the past?
What was the estimated life expectancy of the ladder in common working conditions?
What are any OSHO regulations?
Were there previous lawsuits involving this type ladder?
Who witnessed the use of the ladder?
Was the individual trained by the employer in use of the ladder?
These cases are very expensive to process and often involve warning label experts, human factor experts, biomechanical experts and engineers.