Personal Injuries Caused by Ladder Accidents
Personal injuries caused by ladder accidents often represent significant harm. In some cases, an individual’s fall may even result in death. The majority of cases involving ladders are work-related accidents. With few exceptions, injured employees will be offered the benefits afforded under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act. However, there is also the possibility that there was something wrong with the ladder.
Different Types of Ladder Accidents
The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) offers some thought-provoking statistics regarding ladder accidents. They cite a study performed by the Bureau of Labor reviewing 1400 ladder accidents involving injury. Some items of interest include:
- More than half of the people who use ladders have not been trained to look for defects
- A great number of ladders are either not braced properly at the top or the bottom
- Some ladders have clear defects
- A small percentage of ladders contain steps that are not uniformly spaced
- Ladder was not used as intended
Evidence of a Defective Ladder
Whether you fell at home or at work, you may have a claim of injury against some unknown entity. Before a determination can be made, it is important to determine what ladder was being used at the time of the accident.
In many construction jobs, there can be an assortment of ladders on site. Indeed, various trades may erect their own ladders and it is often hard to identify the ladder for later evaluation. If it is feasible, it is suggested that someone determine the following as soon as possible:
- Take photographs of the ladder involved in the accident
- Secure the manufacturer and make of the ladder
- Determine the owner of the ladder
Without this information, it is difficult to determine if there is a cause of action against the manufacturer, distributor or ladder owner.
Pursuing a Case
Other than a workers’ compensation case, there may be other alternatives for consideration. What if the ladder was owned and maintained by another entity? If you were working on a job site and used another contractor’s equipment, you may have a claim against them if the ladder was not maintained properly.
What is there was a faulty component to the ladder that made falling inevitable? The number of recalls involving ladders is expanding. Take for example one stepladder/stepstool combination that was exclusively sold at a big box store. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission stated the hazard occurred when extended, as the inner side rails could separate from the outer side rails causing the user to fall.