Ladders are an indispensable tool for many (especially in the construction and roofing industries), but what happens when a defective or poorly-designed ladder causes an injury?
Recent estimates show that there are over 34,000 injuries and 100 deaths resulting from work-related ladder falls each and every year. When you add in the number of injures suffered by consumers which required medical treatment, the number grows to nearly 165,000.
Ladder manufacturers are required by law to ensure that their products are reasonably safe from defects and foreseeable dangers. When they fail in this responsibility and someone is injured as a result, the victim is allowed to seek compensation from the manufacturer through what’s called a product liability lawsuit.
A Ladder Manufacturer’s Duty of Care
Ladders (be they step, extension, articulated, tripod, trestle or telescoping) are required to be constructed of sturdy materials which won’t give way under normal use or deteriorate due to wear and tear. In addition, they should be tested for any defects before leaving the manufacturing plant to ensure the safety of the end user.
Manufacturers generally must follow OSHA safety standards on ladders (1926.1053). These regulations cover things such as load support, rung (step) placement and size, clear distance, and more. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers follow these regulations.
Falls from Ladders Can Lead to Catastrophic Injuries
Injuries sustained in ladder falls are often catastrophic, even when only fall a few feet to the ground. In fact, most ladder deaths result from falls less than 10 feet.
It’s not uncommon for victims to suffer broken limbs, spinal injuries, impalement, head trauma, and nerve damage. These injuries are expensive to treat, and may permanently change a person’s life trajectory if they are severe enough.
By hiring a product liability lawyer (most work on a no-win, no-fee basis), you and your family may be able to seek financial reimbursement from the company who produced the faulty ladder, and your actions could even help spark an official recall.
Victims are generally permitted to seek compensation for 100% of their related losses, including pain and suffering, medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, and even reduced earning capacity (if you’re unable to return to work at full capacity).
Even if you are unsure whether or not you wish to pursue a product liability claim at this point, there’s no harm in seeking out a few free attorney consultations so that you have a better understanding of your options. There may even be alternative avenues to compensation that you may not be aware of!