Ladder accidents are common in many workplaces and, unfortunately, result in severe injuries or even fatalities. Despite the potential risks, ladders are the most widely-used tools for reaching elevated areas. Construction, maintenance, and manufacturing industries generally keep ladders for work. Ladder-related mishaps could occur due to several factors, including improper setup, unstable surfaces, or a lack of proper training. Employers must provide their employees with the safe and appropriate equipment, necessary training, and supervision to use it properly. Contact your ladder accident lawyer to understand the case better.
If a ladder accident happens in the workplace, the victim is eligible for workers’ compensation. To invoke your rights and pursue a ladder fall lawsuit, seek a personal injury lawyer from a reputable law firm like Phillips Law Offices. A ladder accident lawyer tends to establish an attorney-client relationship for the best outcome.
Nature of ladder accident
Ladder use is regular in workplaces, such as construction sites, warehouses, and maintenance facilities. It allows a person to access shelves, roofs, ceilings, and other elevated areas. However, the issue is that ladder accidents are frequent and often life-threatening. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 22,000 ladder-related accidents occurred in 2020. Of those, on-the-job fatalities accounted for 161 deaths in the same year.
Whether at home, office, or construction sites, ladder accidents could occur in different settings. Most commonly, the types of these accidents are as follows.
Falls from ladder
It includes a fall from any height, whether one or two feet. It can happen due to overreaching, losing balance, or slipping on the rungs. A tall ladder could result in even more catastrophic injuries if you fall from a higher elevation.
Reaching too far on ladders
While performing work, overreaching to reach a distant object can make the ladder unstable. As a result, the individual on the ladder may lose their balance, fall to the ground, and sustain injuries.
Ladders slipping or tipping over
One risks slipping or toppling over if the ladder base is unstable. Human error is a common contributor to such ladder accidents. When you climb a ladder placed on uneven ground without being secured adequately, you are prone to falls and injuring yourself.
Struck by falling objects on a ladder
Another possibility is that people may accidentally drop tools or other objects while working on a ladder. It could hit a worker or someone standing below, potentially inflicting severe injuries.
Metal ladders near electrical sources
Metal ladders are preferable to wooden or fiberglass ladders because they are more durable, flame-resistant, and resilient. People risk electrocution when using a metal ladder close to electrical sources if it comes into contact with live wires or electrical apparatus.
Manufacturing defects in the ladder or putting weight on it more than its potential could collapse the tool. Ladders can also crumple if worn or damaged. Injuries due to ladder collapse can be fatal.
Potential causes of ladder fall
Many people working in industrial settings often use a ladder to perform work at heights. Unfortunately, ladder accidents occur under the following conditions.
- Put excessive weight on the ladder.
- Choosing the wrong ladder for the job, such as using one that is too short or long.
- The worker climbs the ladder improperly by facing the wrong direction.
- Wear no personal protection equipment (PPE), such as slip-resistant footwear or fall protection.
- Place the ladder on unstable or uneven ground.
- Improper tying the ladder off or having no one holding the base to secure it properly.
- Lack of knowledge of ladder use or inadequate training.
- The individual coming down the ladder missed the bottom rung.
- Ladder use in windy or rainy weather conditions.
- Faulty, worn, or damaged ladder used for work.
- A person leans too far to one side while on a ladder.
Safety protocols related to ladder use
Safety while using a ladder is necessary to prevent slips, trips, and injuries. We should know that improper use of ladders can cause life-threatening issues. Hence, taking precautions for the well-being of workers is wise. Here are some general safety tips to consider before you climb and work on a ladder:
The size, composition, and weight capacity of ladders vary. Choose the right size and type according to your task at hand. If you need to get to a high point, use a tall ladder rather than a short one that might not reach the required height. Avoid using a metallic ladder if electrical contact may occur. When working with electricity, always use a non-conductive ladder made of wood or fiberglass.
Poorly maintained ladders can be risky to use. So, check for damage or flaws before using it, such as cracks, bent or broken parts, greasy steps, or missing or loose screws. If any issue is apparent, get it fixed before you climb and work on it. You can reduce the risk of ladder accidents and work safely at heights by inspecting the equipment regularly.
Place the ladder on a firm, solid surface before using it, and avoid a soft, wet, slick, or unstable base. Put a board under the feet if you have to place it on uneven ground. Remember, never keep a box or barrel underneath to gain height for work. Secure the ladder at the top and bottom to prevent slipping or toppling over it.
If you use a ladder frequently at work, do not get careless. While focusing on your task, climb the ladder with extra precautions. Remember to hold onto the rungs rather than the side rails when facing the ladder. Always maintain two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder. Instead of reaching too far and leaning ahead, reposition the ladder for safety.
On a construction site, using a ladder requires the appropriate training to ensure its safe use. Workers should know how much load to carry when climbing up or down. Trainers will also instruct them to wear shoes with good grip and traction, specifically in poor weather conditions. Moreover, you should avoid wearing anything loose that could tangle with the ladder.
Ladder fall injuries
There are numerous ladder types, including stepladders, extension ladders, and platform ladders, each designed for a specific purpose and height range. It is crucial to select a ladder that meets the height and weight requirements of the task. Otherwise, a ladder accident could happen and cause traumatic injuries. Some potential injuries sustained in a ladder accident include the following:
Sprains and strains
Injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments can occur if you try to brace yourself during a fall but land awkwardly.
Cuts and bruises
Mild to severe cuts and bruises are possible from hitting objects during a fall or from the ladder.
Ladder fall can cause fractures to various body parts, including the arms, legs, hands, fingers, hips, and spine.
Falling from a ladder towards your abdomen or chest can cause internal injuries such as a punctured lung or a ruptured organ.
Spinal cord injuries
Ladder collapse can also result in spinal cord injuries, which can further cause partial or complete paralysis.
Traumatic brain injury
Ladder accidents could cause head trauma and traumatic brain injury. The injuries can range from a concussion to more severe damage to the brain.
In extreme cases, ladder accidents can be fatal, specifically if a person falls from a tremendous height and suffers severe injuries.
What to do if you fall from a ladder at work?
If involved in a ladder accident, there are several significant steps that you should take. These steps are necessary to ensure you receive medical aid and monetary compensation to recover from your injuries. Here is a brief discussion of these steps.
Seek medical attention
The first thing you should do after a ladder accident is to seek a medical professional. Sometimes, wounds that seem minor manifest as major issues afterward. Hence, even if your injuries appear insignificant, get them checked by a doctor to ensure no involvement of an underlying problem.
Reporting the accident
The next step is to inform your employer, supervisor, or building manager about the accident as soon as possible. It will create a record of the ladder accident that you can use later.
Documenting the scene
Another significant step is to click pictures of the accident scene, including the ladder or other involved equipment. These photos can help establish liability and prove your ladder accident case.
Gather witness information
Look for witnesses to your ladder accident and get their contact information. They play a significant role in providing valuable testimony in your case. Likewise, keep records of your medical treatment, including hospital bills, physical therapy, and rehabilitation costs.
Consult an attorney
an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate your case soon after a ladder accident. A skilled attorney can help you navigate the legal process, determine liability, negotiate with insurance firms, and fight for your accidental claim.
Role of a ladder accident lawyer
Ladder accidents are not always the fault of the person using the ladder. Sometimes, the victim did not cause the accident, and someone else was to blame. The negligent person can be held accountable and made to pay for the losses. Nevertheless, the victim can seek workers’ compensation if the accident occurred in a workplace, even if they were at fault.
However, the case is different if the accident occurred because of a defective ladder. The victim may file a product liability lawsuit against the firms that manufactured and sold the ladder.
This lawsuit has the potential to seek damages for the following ladder-related issues:
- Faulty design
- Fabrication flaws
- No warning signs
Premises liability may result from unsafe ladders placed on someone else property, depending on the condition. Accordingly, the property owner may be liable if the victim slips and falls while using the damaged ladder.
Hire Our Ladder Accident Lawyer Fall Injuries at Phillips Law Offices
Hiring a ladder accident lawyer is the best way to acknowledge and establish liability. Our attorney at Phillips Law Offices can help you determine who was at fault for the accident. Whether it was the property owner, the manufacturer of the ladder, or another party, we can help you prove negligence on the part of the liable party. If the insurance company offers a settlement, an attorney can help you negotiate a fair sum, covering economic and non-economic damage. Even if your case goes to trial, our solicitor can provide legal representation, ensuring the best outcome. To get free consultation contact us now at (312) 598-0917.
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