Ladder Injuries and Defects

ladder injuriesLadder injuries have increased by 50% in just the past 10 years. In the United States, over 500,000 people are hurt in falls from ladders each year. About 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 to 8 feet off of the ground.

The most common injuries from ladder accidents are fractures, however, the fall may result in a traumatic injury such as a brain injuryspinal 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.

Some common ways in which ladder accidents occur include:

  • placing a ladder incorrectly
  • using a ladder incorrectly
  • using old, worn, or damaged ladders 
  • defects in the way the ladder is constructed
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 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 and their attorneys are tenacious.

Questions Attorneys Will Ask

Here are just a few of the things that the attorneys on both sides will ask about and investigate:

  • Who was responsible for the 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 of 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.

Sacramento Products Liability Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Products Liability Lawyer, and can help you with a serious ladder fall case. Call me anytime for free, friendly advice at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400. 

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 since 1982. 

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our client reviews on Avvo, Google, and Yelp, and our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 10.20.20]

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