Defective Ladder Lawsuit
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 4.5 million ladder injuries each year in the United States alone. An alarming number of these accidents are caused by faulty ladders or missing safety features that could have prevented them from occurring in the first place.
Were you injured in a ladder accident, or did you lose a loved one to the wrongful death caused by another's negligence?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for accident victims to ensure they receive maximum compensation while seeking justice against those who caused them harm.
Contact a Chicago product liability attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Ladder Defects and Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Ladder accidents are a very significant source of construction site injuries and fatalities nationwide. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates, approximately 24,882 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities occur each year due to falls on ladders and stairways used in a construction site.
In addition, close to half of these ladder injuries are usually serious enough to require time off the job.
Although ladder accidents can occur for various reasons, some are caused by ladder defects and flaws. These flaws may occur during the initial manufacturing process or when damaged, making it hard for workers to identify them easily before using them.
Ladder manufacturers must make safe products that follow industry standards and guidelines, but they often cut corners to reduce production costs at the buyer's expense.
Consumers Expect Product Safety
When you purchase a product, you trust that it will perform as designed without breaking down unexpectedly. If it does not, you deserve compensation for your losses— including medical bills, lost wages (past and future), pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, most ladder injuries occur at home rather than at the workplace. The injuries are often caused by using ladders unsafely, not understanding the dangers and risks involved with ladder use, and ladders that fail due to defects.
Whenever a product causes bodily harm, it is the right of whoever has been injured to receive compensation for medical treatment and other financial considerations.
The Chicago ladder defect lawyers of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have pursued hundreds of cases on behalf of clients whose injuries resulted from using poorly manufactured and designed ladders that failed to perform as intended.
Only 3% of Ladder-Related Injuries Occur at Work
Construction industry workers and contractors take risks daily, but the accident rate is surprisingly low despite the constant use of fiberglass, wooden, and metal ladders on a worksite.
Most ladder-related injuries occur in the home. These injuries often happen because users do not understand how to use a ladder properly.
Other times, ladders are not built well enough to perform their intended function, allowing the user to climb to a recommended height to perform a task safely. Another reason ladder injuries are less frequent at work is that construction workers inspect and report any ladder defects every week.
Therefore, it is far more likely due to defect than improper use when ladder injuries occur at a construction site.
Common Causes of a Ladder Accident in Illinois
Over the last fifteen years, over 2 million people have been injured by defective ladders, and it is important to understand the most common causes of ladder accidents if we wish to prevent them in the future. Some of the most common causes of ladder injuries include the following:
- Using the wrong type of ladder: Every ladder has an intended purpose and limitations that users need to be aware of when selecting one for a task at hand.
- The ladder tips or falls while holding an occupant: It is important to always have a spotter on hand to keep your ladder in place while climbing it so that it does not fall and send you to the ground awkwardly.
- Extension lock failure: If the ladder extension fails and causes the ladder to slip while a user is climbing or working, it can throw the user to the ground and cause serious injuries.
- Attic ladder openings presenting fall risk: When you are fumbling around your attic, it is easy to take one step backward into the open space that led you into the attic.
- The ladder collapses because it is poorly designed or made of inferior materials. Therefore, if you are involved in a ladder accident, it is important to inspect the ladder involved in the incident to determine whether a design flaw or defect caused the ladder to fail.
- Electrocution and electrical shock injuries are caused by metal ladders contacting power lines and other power sources.
- Broken rungs; weathered metal; loose components; sharp or jagged edges; poorly sized rungs; inadequate wall plates; rust stains on frames; broken hinges; rusted bolts; wobbly rails; damaged ladders; defective ladder locks; defective warning labels can cause injuries
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Recommendations to Prevent Ladder Accidents
According to OSHA, ladders used by homeowners are responsible for 12,000 emergency room visits each year.
Based on statistics like these, the US government has set forth certain standards that manufacturers need to follow to ensure that ladders are designed and built with safety as the priority. These standards include:
- Ladder rungs should be slip-resistant
- There should be no more than four rungs above or within 10 inches of another ladder or landing area
- Every ladder must have standard railings that extend at least 3 feet from the top support point
- Fixed ladders must maintain a minimum 23-degree angle between two steps
- A-frame ladders may not exceed 20 degrees unless they are specifically designed for an angle greater than this number
According to OSHA, the most common injuries that ladder accidents cause include:
- Splinters and puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Displaced joints
- Fractures to lower extremities
- Cuts, bruising, and lacerations
OSHA also recommends that individuals injured in a ladder accident seek medical attention, even if the injury seems minor.
What About Illinois Workers' Compensation Law? Can I Sue If My Ladder Accident at Work Was Not My Fault?
When you are injured in a ladder accident that you did not cause, then you may have recourse through Illinois's No-Fault Act.
If you were hurt by someone else's negligence while using an OSHA-compliant ladder, then it is recommended to file a personal injury lawsuit with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission. They can help determine whether or not your injury qualifies for benefits under this legislation.
If the accident occurred at work, your employer should provide workers' compensation insurance coverage to help cover your medical expenses promptly. If you apply for benefits but are not approved, it is important to hire an attorney who specializes in workers' compensation cases.
They can help you with the appeals process and ensure that your claim is properly processed without any obstacles.
Filing a Third-Party Claim
Were you injured at work from a defective ladder? Have you filed a Workers' Compensation claim through your employer but believe others might be involved in your accident?
Our personal injury attorneys can evaluate your claim's merits to determine if there are additional parties (third parties) that might also be named as a defendant in a claim for additional compensation.
Third-party claims could involve your employer as well as the manufacturer or distributor of defective equipment. To prevail in a third-party claim, you must have a legitimate argument for why another party was liable for your injuries.
Our law firm can investigate what happened, determine if the defective ladder had been recalled, or re-create the accident scene to show that others were at fault. A third-party claim could provide additional compensation over and above your Worker's Comp. benefits.
The Kinds of Damages You Can Recover From a Ladder Accident
In Illinois, a personal injury lawyer could help you recover various damages in a personal injury lawsuit if your accident was someone else's fault.
These types of compensation may include:
- Hospitalization costs
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Temporary or permanent disabilities
- Impairment losses
- Mental anguish/emotional distress
- Funeral & burial costs in wrongful death lawsuits
Defective Ladder Injuries Range From Minor to Catastrophic
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, Only one out of ten injuries that result from ladder accidents require hospitalization. Most people are fortunate to walk away from the incident with minor bruises or sprains.
More serious injuries are possible depending on the height of the ladder and the length of the fall. The most common of these injuries are broken legs at the joints of the hands and wrists.
Other injuries include the following:
- Broken legs, shoulders, or collar bones
- Injuries to the neck, back, or spine
- Whenever someone suffers spinal cord injuries, there is the possibility of life-altering injuries that may threaten the victim's mobility
- Traumatic brain injuries. If you have suffered any head injury, it is important to undergo tests to eliminate the possibility of traumatic brain injuries because these injuries may remain asymptomatic for weeks or months
Defective Ladder Accidents Causing Injuries at Work
In recent years, there have been catastrophic ladder accidents caused by defects and mishaps. Some of those accidents involve:
- In 2021, a contractor was crushed when a defective ladder collapsed
- In 1999, a worker fell from a roof when a wood plank gave way, and the ladder he had been standing on slipped to one side
- In 2011, an employee at an Ohio metals plant suffered lead poisoning after being exposed to chips formed when his aluminum ladder rusted from the inside out. The chips also contained cadmium, chromium, and manganese. The exposure resulted in his death
- In 2001, an employee at a plastics company suffered fatal injuries when he fell off scaffolding that was made from defective aluminum ladders that caused the scaffolding to collapse
Just as with defective products, there may be different parties responsible for a defective ladder. In some cases, more than one company might be involved in making the defective equipment. Sometimes, ladder injuries occur from an improper ladder or scaffolding installation.
NIOSH: The Consequences of Falling From a Ladder Can Be Severe
According to the National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH), over 10,000 hospital emergency room-reported injuries involving defective ladders each year.
NIOSH further reports that more than 100 people die from ladder-related injuries and another 5,000 suffer serious injuries which require hospitalization every year in the United States. In addition, one out of ten workers injured in a heavy ladder fall is severely injured.
NIOSH emphasizes that many ladder accidents could be avoided if workers and employers used proper equipment and followed basic ladder safety rules, such as:
- Always follow manufacturer's instructions and maintenance requirements when using ladders at work or in your home
- Never use a stepladder as a single, unsupported step-off platform
- Do not stand on the top two steps of a stepladder unless the ladder is secured against a wall or other support, and you have three points of contact with the ladder
- Remember always to maintain three points of contact when ascending or descending. Never carry tools or materials up or down a ladder.
- Do not use ladders subject to defective manufacturing, damaged or poor design that could cause a collapse. Never allow anyone to stand on the same step as you unless the step meets ANSI specifications for standing level ladders
- When transporting a stepladder, do not carry it by its top cap, spreader, or side rails
- When transporting a stepladder, hold the ladder at its base using the carrying yoke; never carry it by its side rails
- Remember to lock hinges on extension ladders if they are equipped with ratchet-type mechanisms
- Do not lean an extension ladder against a wall or other vertical surface unless it has a wide stance base or is specifically designed for that purpose
- Do not walk up an extension ladder from the bottom rung. Always maintain three points of contact with the ladder
- Be sure your step ladder provides a secure and stable platform at its work surface height before you get on the ladder or begin working. Do not use the top step of an unsecured or unstable stepladder
- Never use a metal ladder when working around electricity unless it is designed for that purpose, and you are familiar with its design features
- Do not exceed the maximum load rating stamped on the side of your ladder. If you need to carry multiple ladders, consider using a ladder cart that is designed for that purpose
- When you are done using your ladder, be sure to return it to the place where you got it so someone else can use it
Never approach a power line with any object in your hand or attached to your body. If you must hold an item above your head while working on a roof or ladder, be sure to use a properly grounded insulated fiberglass or metal extension tool. Be aware that any object you hold may become electrically charged and cause injury to yourself and others.
To prevent injuries from defective ladders, any worker needs to follow proper procedures. For example, workers should never stand on the ladder if the ladder does not have a wide stance base. In addition, a worker should always maintain three points of contact with the ladder while ascending or descending.
- If you carry tools or materials up or down a ladder, you must never do this while standing on the same step as someone else.
- If your stepladder does not meet ANSI specifications for standing level ladders, do not use the top step as a step-off area.
- If it is necessary to take a break while working on your ladder, always return the stepladder to the stable position before resting.
- If you need a new ladder or need repair to an existing one, make sure that you know how much your ladder weighs before you lift it.
- If the ladder does not have a wide base, do not use it as an unsupported step-off area.
- If the stepladder has hinges equipped with ratchet-type mechanisms, remember to lock them into place before ascending or descending.
Suffering a Ladder Injury? Call Us Now! Free Case Review at (888) 424-5757
Every injured person harmed by a defective ladder can file a civil lawsuit or insurance claim seeking financial compensation. However, the process can be complex.
Therefore, it is important to contact an experienced Chicago products liability claim lawyer who understands how to handle personal injury claims. If you are unsure, get in touch with our law firm today for a free consultation! We have the knowledge and skill to handle ladder injury cases on your behalf.
Ladder Accident Victims in Illinois Have Legal Rights; Contact Our Team of Attorneys Today!
If a defective ladder has injured you or someone close to you, it may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit or claim. Our office has won millions in compensation for victims in similar situations. We will provide you with the personalized attention that your case deserves.
When you work with us, we will handle everything from the initial investigation through the final court verdict so that you can focus on your recovery and put this whole ordeal behind you – for good.
We have a long history of "fighting for the little guy" in Illinois, and we are proud to offer our services at competitive rates. So, get in touch with our team today.
Contact a Ladder Defect Lawyer for a Free Case Review of Your Ladder Defect Case
The Chicago ladder defect attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have tried hundreds of product liability cases in which victims suffered injuries due to manufacturer defects and poorly made products.
As a result, we've successfully recovered the compensation our clients required to pay their medical bills, recover lost wages, pain, suffering, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Contact us today to arrange a free case evaluation to review the details of your claim and let you know how we can help you move forward with your civil suit.
Our product defect lawyers work solely on a contingency basis, which means we will never expect upfront payment or charge for our services unless we successfully secure damages on your behalf. For additional information about ladder fall accidents, view our Chicago ladder accident page here.