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Pursuing Fair Compensation For Injuries Suffered Falling From A Ladder

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 2018 report shows that 310 U.S. construction workers are killed every year and more than 10,000 suffer serious injuries in falls from elevated heights, including from ladders.

Falls from ladders can cause brain injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, and fatalities. Government statistics show that ladder falls are among the 10 most common workplace safety violations. If you have injuries because of a fall from a ladder in the workplace or elsewhere, you need to know where to turn for help in getting compensation so you and your family can move forward.

At Cohen, Snyder, Eisenberg & Katzenberg, P.A., we have represented injured people in Maryland for over 40 years. Our dedicated team of experienced attorneys will work to get the compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Ladder Falls

Some common reasons ladder injuries take place include losing your balance, overreaching, mis-stepping, and mounting or dismounting improperly. If you’re not trained to use a ladder properly, it can lead to accidents and injuries that you may have to seek workers’ compensation for.

Every year, there are over 164,000 emergency room visits due to falls from ladders. According to the World Health Organization, the United States leads the world in ladder-related deaths. Around 300 deaths happen each year.

Surprisingly, most of the deaths involving ladders are caused by falls of 10 feet or less, and the number of people falling and dying has only increased. How can you stay safe on a ladder? Ladder levels can help. These levels show if the legs are balanced and even on the ground. Another possibility is a ladder stabilizer. The stabilizer braces the ladder when a stable surface isn’t available.

Remember to only load the ladder with as much weight as it’s designed for, and only use ladders with rungs that are not damaged, rusting, or otherwise defective. Don’t use your ladder in windy conditions, and if you’re not feeling well or physically fit, save going up the ladder for another day. Don’t sit on the top rung of the ladder, and on a step ladder, never stand higher than the second rung from the top, as this can lead to an imbalance.

March is National Ladder Safety Month

The American Ladder Institute (ALI) created this campaign in 2017 with goals to:

  • Decrease the number of ladder falls and injuries that workers suffer on the job;
  • Increase safety training, inspections and overall safety in ladder use; and
  • Remove ladder falls from OSHA’s Top 10 list of the most common violations.

The emphasis on ladder safety is critical for all workers. Falls can lead to dangerous fractures and head injuries which would be covered under workers’ compensation but could change the course of an individual’s life as well (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-501).

Are You Following These Ladder Safety Tips At Work?

There are many factors to consider when working with ladders. By following these tips, you decrease your chance of an accident:

  • Before using a ladder inspect it for any safety violations, such as cracks or loose rungs.
  • Follow the instructions on the ladder;
  • Move the ladder wherever needed instead of leaning or reaching;
  • Avoid carrying materials while climbing up or down; and
  • Wear proper footwear while climbing.
  • Use caution when moving a ladder.
  • Do not attempt to lift a heavy ladder on your own.
  • Ensure ladders are on firm ground before taking the first step.
  • Make sure the ladder is completely open before use.
  • Never stand or sit on the top step of a ladder.
  • Never stand higher than the second step from the top rung.

If you neglect to follow these ladder safety tips at work, the chance of being injured in an accident is much greater.

While you may be expected to use a ladder on a regular basis, it doesn’t mean you should do so in an unsafe environment. If for any reason you don’t feel safe using a ladder, stay off of it until the problem is rectified.

Did Your Fall Happen At Work Or Elsewhere?

A study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in 2016 notes that falls remain the top cause of unintentional injury in the United States and that 43% of fatal falls over the past 10 years have involved a ladder.

In addition to people who are injured or killed in a ladder accident at home, this is a big concern in the workplace. The report cites that among workers, roughly 20% of all fall injuries involved a ladder. When you focus solely on construction workers, approximately 81% of fall injuries treated at an emergency room involve a ladder, and 24% of construction worker deaths are from ladder falls. If the fall occurs at your job, it’s important to report the incident to your employer as soon as possible and seek immediate medical care.

What Type Of Compensation Can You Receive?

If your ladder fall happened on a construction site or on another work site, we can explain your options under the Maryland workers’ compensation system. Our lawyers have handled thousands of workers’ compensation cases and can help you file a claim.

You may be able to get additional compensation, if the negligence of a third party, such as a contractor, caused your injury. Employees may be able to get this type of third-party liability compensation in addition to their workers’ compensation benefits.

Talk To A Lawyer In A Free Consultation

You can work with an attorney at one of our offices in Baltimore, Bel Air, Frederick, Essex, Glen Burnie or Towson. Call us at 443-529-0795 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation and get our lawyers on your side.

Sources

  • International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc., “Ladder Safety,” Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard, accessed March 04, 2016
  • Travelers, “Ladder Safety Tips,” accessed Jan. 18, 2016
  • AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for JUSTICE
  • AABA
  • MARYLAND ASSOCIATION FOR JUSTICE
  • BAR ASSOCIATION OF BALTIMORE CITY | 1880
  • MSBA | MARYLAND STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
  • MARYLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION