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Important Next Steps After a Ladder Fall

While ladder falls may seem like a minor incident, nothing could be further from the truth. Falls are considered to be the biggest danger posed against those who work in the construction industry, accounting for over one-third of all construction deaths.

Unlike many construction hazards, this danger finds itself in the average home, as well. Whether they’re stringing up Christmas lights or changing a lightbulb, amateur handymen are at risk for injury or even death caused by falling from a ladder. 22,710 workers were injured by ladder falls in the year 2020 alone, affecting a variety of people, from maintenance workers to schoolteachers. Ladder fatalities continue to be an issue, with a steady number of injuries happening each year in every work industry.

Because so many are affected by this hazard, it is important to take steps to prevent ladder injury as best you can before ascending the rungs. However, ladder accidents are often caused by parties other than the ladder user. If you have experienced a ladder accident, it is of the utmost importance that you take the necessary action that can preserve your health, exercise your rights, and achieve maximum compensation for damages.

Steps to Follow After Falling Off a Ladder

The moments following an accident can be overwhelming and frightening, especially if you are in pain. In the flurry of activity that follows, make sure to protect your rights by taking the following steps:

  1. Report the incident: If the accident occurred while you were working, it is crucial that you report the incident to your supervisor. OSHA requires your employer to report all incidents. This ensures that an accident is on record, which is important for future actions like claiming damages or filing a workers’ compensation claim.
  2. Seek medical attention: Even if you don’t notice injury immediately, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Musculoskeletal injuries, hernias, concussions, and other fall-induced injuries often do not present symptoms immediately, developing into much more noticeable injuries later on. When you arrive at the hospital, make sure that you receive any imaging recommended by your treatment team. This could reveal significant injury that you may not have been aware of.
  3. Collect potential evidence: Once your safety has been assured, you should make it a priority to collect evidence related to your incident. This includes contacting potential witnesses, most notably coworkers who may have been near you at the time of your accident. Their eyewitness account should be documented in the workplace accident report that your supervisor or human resources department has filed. You should also take photos of the area where the accident occurred and the ladder that was being used at the time of the incident. Additionally, you should keep the ladder entirely. The equipment can be used as physical evidence against the manufacturer or your employer if proven defective or poorly maintained.
  4. Contact a lawyer: Do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney for a consultation regarding your accident. The sooner you receive a consultation, the better. An attorney has the knowledge and experience to advise you during this process, which can often be confusing and stressful if you are trying to navigate it on your own.

Common Injuries from Ladder Falls

Ladder falls are serious, life-threatening accidents that happen all too often. An average of 300 people die from ladder-related injuries on the job annually. About half of those occur in the construction industry alone.

2017 to 2020 Fatalities by Ladder Accident - Bureau of Labor Statistics

Most shockingly, most fatal ladder falls occur at a height of 10 feet or less. Property owners, employers, and manufacturers must take the utmost care to ensure that ladder users are safe and protected. When responsible parties fail to take necessary precautions, tragedy strikes.

Common injuries from a ladder fall include:

  • Partial or full paralysis
  • Hernia
  • Internal bleeding
  • Bone fractures
  • Herniated or bulging spinal discs
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Fatality

Sadly, the impacts of a ladder fall do not end there. Those who have sustained an injury after falling off a ladder often lose valuable time at work or lose their job altogether. They often face a lifetime of pain due to permanent injuries. Medical bills begin to build, and financial stress can take its toll on one’s mind. Personal injury can have a life-changing impact on its victim. For this reason, it is important that a victim is compensated fairly. Compensation for damages can cover a victim’s resulting medical care and ensure that they have the means to care for themselves and their families.

Legal Options After Falling from a Ladder

Possible legal recourse depends on a variety of factors, including whether you were working on your own property, instructed to use a ladder incorrectly by your employer, or using a defective ladder.

If further inspection of the ladder concludes that the ladder was improperly manufactured, you may be able to pursue legal action against the manufacturer. If you were on someone else’s property, failure to maintain the property to a safe standard might have contributed to your fall. In that case, the property owner may be held liable.

OSHA has laid out very important safety regulations just for ladders. If your employer did not adhere to these rules, they could be at fault for your accident. This includes what might be considered minor details, like the measurement between the rungs of the ladder or even the shape of the rungs.

In New York State, victims injured on a ladder not fit for use or victims who were not properly trained to use a ladder may be protected under Labor Law Section 240. This law offers vital protection for workers who have been denied their right to a safe work environment and proper equipment.

If Labor Law 240 applies to your case, you may be entitled to compensation beyond workers’ comp. Our attorneys are well-experienced and highly knowledgeable when it comes to labor laws, having handled dozens of winning cases protected by Labor Law 240 alone.

Notable ladder accident case results secured by Block O’Toole & Murphy include:

  • $5,500,000 settlement for a non-union electrician who suffered severe injuries, including several spinal fractures and brain damage, after not being provided fall protection.
  • $4,900,000 settlement for a union electrician who fell off a wobbly ladder and fractured his wrist and several vertebrae.
  • $4,200,000 settlement for a worker whose employer failed to provide him with a safe ladder, causing the plaintiff to fall and suffer several herniated spinal discs.
  • $2,400,000 settlement for a worker whose ladder slipped out from under him, resulting in herniated discs in both his cervical and lumbar spine.
  • $1,750,000 settlement for an undocumented carpenter who fell from a 10-foot ladder and sustained arm, wrist, and back injuries.

New York Ladder Fall Attorneys

Regardless of your situation, it is important that you consult an attorney to explore your options. A reliable lawyer will ask the necessary questions to determine if you can seek legal recourse and offer you comprehensive advice. If you have experienced an injury after falling from a ladder, reach out to a ladder accident attorney at Block O’Toole & Murphy today.

To speak with an attorney, please call 212-736-5300 or fill out our Contact Form. We serve New York and New Jersey.

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Fill out our short online contact form for a FREE, immediate case review, or call us locally at 212-736-5300 today. The lawyers in our firm work on a contingency basis, so we do not collect any money unless we win your case.