Ladder Fall Accident Attorneys Representing People Injured in Chicago, Illinois
Ladder fall injuries can occur in various settings. Construction accidents tend to result in severe injuries since the person has fallen from a significant height. The impact of the fall can cause severe and permanent job injuries.
While following safety precautions can help prevent some ladder injuries, many accidents are not the fault of the victim at all, and there was nothing that could have prevented the injury.
Whether you were not at fault, or even if you were partially responsible for your injury, you might be entitled to substantial financial compensation for your ladder accident. The Chicago ladder accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have a wealth of experience helping those who have been hurt by ladders.
Our personal injury lawyers provide immediate legal advice on recovering damages via workers' compensation and personal injury claims. Call (888) 424-5757 now to schedule a free case evaluation.
Ladder Fall Injury FAQs
What Injuries can You get From Falling off a Ladder?
Most ladder accident victims suffer severe bone fractures, including fractured vertebrae, broken bones, and fractured pelvis injuries. Other severe problems include head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, broken vertebrae, and deep cuts and lacerations.
How do You not Fall off the Ladder?
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) provides guidelines on ladder safety, reminding workers to never stand on the top two rungs of any ladder. Also, the employee should not step on any of the top four rungs of any metal, fiberglass, or wooden stepladder.
Workers are required to maintain three points of contact with any type of ladder all the time. For ultimate safety, using a partner to steady and hold the ladder can maximize safety when the worker is climbing up and down.
Where do Most Ladder-Related Injuries Occur?
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) stated that over 40% of all deaths from falling in the last ten years occurred on ladders at construction sites, buildings, and residential structures. The data shows that businesses with the fewest workers had the highest fatality rates.
According to statistics involving emergency room visits, nearly half of all fatal injuries occurring in ladder-related events involved traumatic head injuries. Nearly all non-fatal accidents involved injuries to the lower and upper extremities.
How Many People Die From Falling off Ladders per Year?
Statistics by the CDC reveal that in 2017, over .5 million individuals were treated in the United States emergency rooms from ladder-related accidents. Of these, about 300 individuals died from their injuries.
The data shows that approximately $24 billion is spent on ladder accident compensation every year to pay for medical expenses, liability costs, legal fees, lost work, pain, and suffering.
How High can You Climb a Ladder Without Fall Protection?
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), employers are not required to have their workers use fall protection on any ladder under 12 feet tall. The government changed the regulation in November 2018.
The government required companies to install and maintain a permanent ladder cage at twenty feet tall and higher before enforcing the new regulations.
Can You Survive a 20 Foot Fall?
Most falls from twenty feet or higher, usually end in an emergency room visit. A fall from twenty feet up can result in severe traumatic brain injuries, head lacerations, and unconsciousness. Victims landing on their side might increase their chance of survival compared to landing on their head or neck.
However, most falls from 20 feet or more result in life-altering organ injury, spinal cord damage, or broken ribs.
Ladder Injuries Locations
Most ladder injuries occur at worksites where construction crews regularly work with ladders. However, other people can get injured working on ladders, including working off a ladder at home or apartment or house worksites.
Some personal injury claims examples involving ladder accidents include:
- A work injury when a worker in a store or a restaurant is struck by a ladder that has tipped over and falls
- Electrocution when a ladder hits an overhead power line
- Painters and construction workers falling from a ladder when it shifts position and tips over
- Brick mason injured when a ladder collapses under them and falls over
Many of these injuries do not occur because a worker misused the ladder. Instead, several other possibilities could be at work.
Types of Ladder Injuries
Ladders cause injury when a person falls to the ground with momentum from anywhere, as high as thirty feet. When the person's body contacts the ground, whichever part of their body hits the surface is susceptible to a severe and perhaps permanent injury.
Here are some of the common injuries that people suffer from ladder accidents:
- Traumatic brain injuries that can impact a person for the rest of their life
- Paralysis, including quadriplegia and paraplegia
- Fractured bones, especially the arms and legs
- Injuries to the neck and back
- Electrocution and electrical burns
- Wrongful death When a worker falls from a high elevation
Ways to Recover Financial Compensation for Injuries Related to Chicago Ladder Accident
You might be able to receive financial compensation for a ladder accident if another party is at fault for your damages. Their actions must have caused your injuries.
Here are some ways that others can be at fault for the accident that has injured you or a loved one.
- The ladder manufacturer could be found liable for your injuries in a product liability lawsuit if the ladder is defective. Also, the store that sold you the ladder might be held liable.
- An employer could be held responsible if they do not provide you with adequate fall protection on the job.
- An employer could also be responsible if they provided you with a ladder to do a job when they should have given you a much safer and more viable means of reaching heights.
- An employer might be accountable for your injuries if they ordered you to use the ladder in an unsafe manner.
Statistics About Ladder Injuries
Falls from ladders are one of the leading causes of workplace injury and death. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) published statistics on occupational safety.
In 2017, nearly 1,000 workers were killed on the job on construction sites. Of these fatalities, roughly 40 percent of them resulted from falls on the job. A sizable part of these workplace fatalities involved falls from ladders.
Here are some relevant statistics about ladder injuries:
- Ladder injuries are on the increase. In the ten years leading up to 2016, the number of people injured in ladder accidents has risen nearly 50%
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that half of all ladder accidents occur when people attempt to carry something up a ladder.
- About a third of ladder injuries/scaffold injuries involve fractures.
- Two-thirds of injured workers by ladders were not adequately trained in their usage. An employer must train employees who use ladders in the course of their jobs.
- Around one in five ladders that were involved in accidents had some defect.
- Workers in over 50% of all ladder-related fall accidents failed to secure their ladders.
How to Prevent Ladder Injuries
According to OSHA, workers can prevent nearly every ladder accident when receiving proper training and following safety measures. Of course, this excludes defective ladders that fail no matter the safety precautions that are taken.
Employers need to train their workers in proper ladder safety and ensure that their employees are using the ladder properly. The worker should visually inspect the ladder before using it.
When placing the ladder, one should ensure that it is secure and placed against a flat surface. Never place a letter on top of a scaffold since that is an unstable surface and many accidents occur when the scaffold shifts or moves, causing the ladder to fall.
It is always crucial to keep both hands and at least one foot on the ladder.
Regulated Ladder Safety Rules
The Code of Federal Regulations, not OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), regulates the use of ladders in the workplace (safety equipment rules) that must be followed. While businesses might not be prosecuted for breaking these rules, they can indeed be fined by the federal government.
Injured workers could receive financial compensation if the business failed to follow OSHA rules. These rules include the following:
- Ladders used must be capable of supporting the load
- Ladders must be able to sustain several times the maximum allowable load
- Each step must be capable of supporting at least twenty-five pounds
- Ladders must be manufactured to ensure an individual's foot cannot slide off the rung.
- Manufacturers must design ladders with minimum distances between the side rails of the ladder.
- Only use ladders for their designed purpose
These are just a handful of the many regulations that PSHA has about ladder safety. There is an entire section in the federal rule book about ladder safety.
OSHA frequently cites employers for job safety violations involving ladders. In 2016, ladder safety was the seventh most cited job safety violations leading to work accidents.
In all, the agency reported over 2,500 violations involving ladders in that year. Areas where OSHA cited employers that involved violations of ladder rules that could cause a work injury, include:
- Workers using the top rung of the ladder as a step
- Workers carrying dangerous loads up ladders increasing the risk of a fall
- Using ladders outside their designed purpose
- Using ladders with structural defects
Were you or a loved one injured in the ladder accident? If so, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can provide legal representation to settle your case or take the lawsuit to trial. Let us put our extensive experience to work for you to get you the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Our attorneys will perform a comprehensive case review to ensure you receive adequate workers' compensation benefits and other monies to pay for your ongoing hospitalization costs and medical bills.
The Value of Ladder Accident Injury Cases
Many factors contribute to the value of your ladder injuries case, including medical expenses, lost income, pain, and disability. The cases provide insight into how juries, lawyers, and insurance companies valued these cases.
While these cases can be instructive, they should not be conclusive in valuing your particular situation.
Plaintiff Verdict for $1,804,696 (2019) - A victim working on a construction site stood on top of the ladder placed on top of the scaffolding when he fell to the ground when the structure shifted. The victim suffered unspecified personal injuries in the fall.
The plaintiff's attorneys built the case on negligence, citing that the employer allowed a ladder to be placed on top of the scaffolding and did not provide proper work equipment. Approximately half of the jury's verdict was for pain and suffering.
Plaintiff Verdict for $3.5 million (2018) - The plaintiff claimed that he fell from a shaking ladder. There were no witnesses to the fall, but the plaintiff was found in pain sitting next to a ladder and stating that he fell.
At trial, the plaintiff claimed that he was on the second to the top rung of a 12-foot ladder at the time of the fall, although the ceiling was only nine feet high. Still, the jury found the defendant liable for the injuries.
The plaintiff suffered injuries to his wrists that required fusion and lumbar injuries that necessitated physical therapy and injections.
Plaintiff Verdict for $4.8 million (2018) - A victim standing on an aluminum stepladder fell to the ground causing the ladder to collapse when one lateral leg bent inward.
In the fall, the plaintiff suffered severe injuries to his dominant arm, which will cause him to lose the use of that arm for the rest of his life. The attorneys filed a lawsuit against the ladder manufacturer, claiming that the product was defective.
Three-quarters of the damage award was for future damages.
Settlement for $2.75 million (2018) - A sheet metal mechanic working on a renovation project removed ductwork from the ceiling when a piece of the ductwork hit him, knocking him eight feet from the ladder to the floor.
His injury attorney suffered a closed head injury and a traumatic brain injury, along with lumbar and cervical herniations. The lawsuit claimed that the defendant was negligent because they should have provided adequate fall protection that would have kept the plaintiff from falling off of the ladder to the floor.
Plaintiff Verdict for $3.5 million (2018) - A delivery driver climbed a ladder when it collapsed while unloading produce from a truck. He suffered injuries to his neck, back, and knees that required surgery.
The victim was typically given a machine to unload the product, but on this occasion, he was given only a ladder and told to unload the truck. The lawsuit claimed that the ladder was inadequate and dangerous equipment for him to do his job.
Settlement for $12 million (2018) - A construction worker at a demolition site stood on a fixed ladder attached to the side of a rollaway container. The victim, due to his injuries, was unable to testify about what knocked him off of the ladder, but he fell fifteen feet to the ground.
He suffered traumatic brain injuries that required a feeding tube and a catheter. The plaintiff's extensive injuries required around-the-clock care, increasing the amount of the settlement agreement.
An issue arose before the litigated settlement as to whether the plaintiff, as a driver, was covered by the labor laws and entitled to judgment.
Settlement for $1.575 million (2018) - The victim attempted to climb a ladder to board a yacht. According to the lawsuit, the ladder was not firmly connected to the vessel but was instead based on the wet gravel.
The victim (plaintiff) fell and struck the asphalt surface while attempting to use the ladder. The plaintiff injured his hip in the fall that required surgery and still suffered ongoing pain.
The lawsuit alleged that the defendant was negligent because they did not adequately secure a ladder. After the accident, the marina replaced the faulty ladder with a rolling safety ladder.
Plaintiff Verdict for $6,689,094 (2018) - The victim on a construction site was using a ladder to tape sheetrock. The ladder was on top of a scaffolding when the scaffold collapsed, causing the victim "plaintiff" to fall ten to fifteen feet to the ground.
The plaintiff suffered tears to both his knees and injury to his shoulder in the fall. The plaintiff claimed that he would not be able to work in the future and could not enjoy sporting activities.
The court found in a summary judgment that the defendant was liable for the fall, and the only matter at issue in the trial was his damages.
Plaintiff Verdict for $7 million (2018) - a wrongful death claim involved the decedent who had been working on a ladder, drilling holes into a building for a vent fan. The victim fell twelve feet from the ladder and died several days later from his injuries.
The lawyers for his estate claimed, among other things, that the defendant did not provide a safe working environment, failed to train workers properly, and gave the workers a defective ladder to use.
The judge assigned the deceased victim twenty percent of the liability for the accident and reduced the award by 20%, although the estate was still permitted to recover for the death.
Settlement for $1.195 million (2018) - A restaurant worker was injured when an eight-foot ladder leaning against the wall fell and struck her while she was walking past the kitchen. The victim suffered a lumbar herniation and tears to her shoulder.
The defendant was liable for the injury, even though the plaintiff was not a construction worker. The jury found the defendant liable after an extensive fact-finding over who left the ladder at the restaurant. The case settled before the damages part of the trial.
Settlement for $1 million (2017) - A subcontractor's employee at a real estate construction site worked in areas with a 15-foot-high ceiling. The plaintiff alleged that the ladder was placed on top of the scaffold and held by a coworker while he worked.
Although the plaintiff believed the scaffolding and ladder set up to be dangerous, he complied with the directive to do his job. The ladder fell when he leaned to one side, causing him to suffer a fractured humerus and a lumbar herniation.
Attorneys from both sides settled the case just before the jury announced its verdict.
Plaintiff Judgement for $14,346,574 (2017) - The plaintiff working for an HVAC company stood on an elevated deck when he tripped over a ladder that was allegedly left at the site by the defendant.
A victim fell from the elevated deck and suffered severe injuries that left him with quadriplegia. The lawsuit claimed that the defendant was negligent by leaving work equipment scattered around an elevated deck and by having a deck that lacked safety or guard rails.
Settlement for $3.3 million (2017) - An electrician cutting through metal heating pipes suspended from the ceiling suffered injuries. A large section of the pipe suddenly swung down, causing the victim to be knocked off from his ladder and fall to the ground.
In the fall, the victim (plaintiff) suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him with numerous cognitive defects and several fractures. The lawsuit claimed that the defendant should have had fall arrest equipment that would have prevented the plaintiff from falling off his ladder.
The defendant contended that there was fall arrest equipment, but the lawsuit alleged that there was nowhere to tie that equipment. The plaintiff claimed that he would not work again and that he suffered ongoing pain after the accident.
Plaintiff Verdict for $2,434,000 (2017) - A home inspector inspecting the roof of a home stepped from the roof onto a 17-foot ladder. The ladder shifted, causing him to fall twelve feet to the ground.
The victim suffered severe injuries, including an L2 burst fracture (spinal cord injury) and spinal hematoma, which required multiple surgeries. The lawsuit filed against the ladder manufacturer claimed that its design did not allow for it to remain stable when the ladder was fully extended, which led to broken bones.
The lawsuit also claimed that the defendants breached their express warranties because many of the representations made about the ladder were not true.
Consult With a Chicago Ladder Accident Attorney Today
Let the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC help you with your ladder injury lawsuit. We can begin the process of filing a workers' compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All discussions with our law firm remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship.
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