One of the most common injuries that occurs in work places is a fall from a ladder. Whether this type of accident occurs on a construction site or anywhere else, the injuries that result can be devastating. A victim can be so badly hurt they’ll never be the same – they might not even be able to do the simple, everyday tasks that we take for granted.
If this has happened to you or a loved one, get in touch with the attorneys at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh as soon as you can. We will investigate to determine why the accident happened, and do all we possibly can in an effort to help you obtain maximum compensation. If you would like to schedule a free evaluation of your case, please contact us online or give us a call at (561) 295-5825.
What Causes Ladder Falls?
People will typically assume that when someone falls off of a ladder, it’s completely their fault. They either didn’t set the ladder up correctly, or they lost focus and missed a rung. But the reality is there can be a lot of different reasons that fall off ladder injuries at work happen – and, in many instances, they’re due to someone else’s negligence. Here are a few examples.
- The ground is wet or uneven. A worker may be forced to climb up a ladder even though their supervisor knows it’s incredibly unsafe to do so. In order for a ladder to work properly, it has to be on firm, solid and level ground. If it’s not, then the ladder could suddenly shift, or fall over completely. If an employer forces a worker to climb on an unsafe ladder, and that worker is hurt, then the employer could face legal liability that goes farther than a workers’ compensation claim.
- The worker used the wrong kind of ladder. Again, an unreasonable employer could order a worker to use a certain type of ladder, even though it’s not right for the specific job. The ladder, for instance, could be too short. The worker will have to stretch in order to perform their task, and could easily fall as a result. If the ladder is only designed to carry a certain amount of weight, and the worker (and any equipment they may be carrying) exceeds that limit, an accident can easily take place.
- The ladder was defective, broken or damaged. If the accident occurred to a defective ladder, you may be able to sue the company that manufactured it. If you were hurt because the ladder was damaged in some way, your employer may be held liable.
Injuries Associated with Falling Off a Ladder
Here’s a quick look at just some of the types of injuries this kind of accident can cause.
- Traumatic brain injuries. When someone hits their head on a hard surface after falling from a ladder, the consequences can be horrible. A TBI can lead to severe cognitive impairments. Victims may lose their memory, or lose their ability to focus and concentrate. This kind of injury can also lead to severe emotional issues, since victims often can’t communicate the way they want, and get extremely frustrated. In especially severe cases, a victim may need 24-hour care because they can’t take care of themselves.
- Spinal cord injuries. If a person falls off of a ladder and hits the ground at a strange angle, they could severely injure the spinal cord. Thankfully, there are many instances where people suffering this kind of injury can recover to the point where they can once again work, and get back to the activities they love. Sometimes, however, the spinal cord will be so severely damaged that the victim will be paralyzed for life.
- Back injuries. Even if a victim is lucky enough to avoid either of the above injuries, they could still suffer a great deal of damage to their back. This can sometimes result in multiple surgical procedures to repair that damage, as well as excruciating pain.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The most common option for injured workers is to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp is designed to provide an injury victim with the money needed to pay bills while they recover. Workers’ comp will also pay for initial medical treatment as well as any ongoing care that may be needed. If the victim is hurt so badly that they need to miss work, the program will also replace a percentage of their missing income for up to 104 weeks, or two years.
Compensation in Ladder Fall Cases
It’s important to note, however, that workers’ comp won’t fully take the place of your paycheck – just a portion. You may have to take legal action in order to recover all of the money you’re losing due to your inability to work.
Your lost wages are what are known as “damages,” the legal term for monetary losses associated with an accident. Since workers’ comp won’t cover all of your wages, it won’t pay for all of your damages. But you still might have options.
As you learned earlier, a manufacturer’s defect could have been the direct cause of your accident. Or your supervisor may have ordered you to use the ladder, even though it was damaged or was otherwise unsafe use. These are instances where you could file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, or possibly even your employer.
Do I Need to Hire a Workplace Injury Attorney?
If you believe you have the legal grounds to file a lawsuit, or the company’s insurance carrier denied your workers’ comp claim, you’re going to need the help of an attorney. An attorney with the law firm of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh is ready to provide that help.
This kind of case can be very complex, and very difficult to win. But we have the skill, experience and resources to do just that. If you would like to learn more about us, or you’d like to schedule a free case review, please call (561) 295-5825 or use our online contact form.