Ladder accidents are quite common in the U.S., often causing serious injury or death. Approximately half a million ladder accidents occur each year, with about 300 of those falls resulting in death annually. The causes of these falls are wide and varied, sometimes caused by user error, but sometimes due to the negligence of others (an employer, for example). If you have recently experienced a ladder accident in the Los Angeles or Orange County areas, let’s talk about some of the reasons people fall from ladders, when to talk to a personal injury attorney, and what you can do if you suffer a ladder injury due to someone’s negligence.
Ladder Set at an Incorrect Angle
Bad ladder angles are the most common cause of falls, according to ISHN. About 40 percent of ladder injuries occur because an extension ladder was set at an improper angle. Placing the ladder at too steep of an angle increases the risk of losing your balance or tipping the ladder; placing it at too shallow of an angle can cause the base to slip out from under you.
Using Too Short a Ladder
Another common cause of ladder falls is using a ladder that is too short. Standard guidelines recommend standing no higher than the second step from the top of a stepladder, and extension ladders should be several feet higher than the height you need to reach. Using a ladder that is too short may tempt you to extend yourself, causing the ladder or you to go off balance and increasing the risk of a fall.
Using an Under-Rated Ladder
Ladders are specified to hold certain maximum weights. If you are too heavy for the ladder you are using—or if you must carry something heavy up the ladder—it might bend or buckle under your weight.
Improper Ladder Use
Many ladder falls are often triggered by basic user error. These errors may include:
- Failing to brace the ladder properly
- Placing the ladder on soft or uneven ground
- Attempting to carry too much weight up the ladder
- Failing to wear shoes with good tread to avoid slipping
Sometimes improper ladder use occurs simply because a worker wasn’t properly trained in ladder safety protocols.
Improper Ladder Inspection or Maintenance
Ladders don’t last forever; using one that is old, rusted, or bent may be dangerous. Companies using ladders for work are responsible for inspecting them regularly and replacing them if they are worn out or below standards.
When Can You Recover Damages in a Ladder Injury Accident?
If you use a ladder incorrectly or carelessly on your own time, you generally do so at your own peril. However, there are times when ladder accidents occur due to someone else’s negligence—for example, if someone on your team failed to set or brace the ladder properly, or your employer requires you to use a ladder that is below proper safety standards for the job. If your ladder injury occurred on the job, you should speak with a work injury attorney because you may qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. If the injury occurred because someone else was negligent, you may be eligible to collect damages in a personal injury lawsuit to cover your medical expenses, recovery, lost wages, etc.
Serving clients in L.A., Oxnard, Riverside, and other parts of Southern California, the attorneys at Accident Defenders have plenty of experience helping injured accident victims get the compensation they need and deserve. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney, call 323-818-HURT or fill out our online contact form today.