Ladder Falls Cause Debilitating Injuries
Falls from ladders are some of the most common causes of accidental injuries in the United States. These injuries frequently happen both in the workplace and in non-occupational settings, but a study by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that 97% of ladder injuries happen in residential locations. This study also determined that each year, about 130,000 Americans receive emergency medical treatment for ladder injuries.
Ladder injuries often require long and painful recovery periods. In some cases, victims of these falls may suffer from permanent disabilities or even die. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 646,000 fatal fall accidents occur each year, making falls the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death, after car accidents.
Some common injuries suffered in falls from ladders include:
- Head injuries and traumatic brain damage
- Neck injuries, back injuries, and paralysis
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
Common Causes Of Ladder Falls
Many ladder falls could be prevented by following safety rules, including:
- Inspecting the ladder before each use
- Making sure not to exceed the ladder’s weight limit
- Choosing the right size and type of ladder for the job
- Placing the ladder on a stable and non-slippery surface
- Always maintaining three points of contact (between hands and feet) while going up or down a ladder
- Never use the top two rungs, as they are incapable of bearing heavy weight
Many homeowners may not be aware of how to use a ladder safely. Ladder manufacturers should take this into account by providing thorough safety instructions and warning labels with their products. However, if a ladder contains a manufacturing or design defect, even homeowners who strictly follow all safety rules can fall and suffer serious injuries.
How Does A Ladder Recall Work?
When a ladder manufacturer becomes aware of a widespread defect in one of their products, a recall is often issued. When this happens, the line of defective products will be removed from stores. Customers who have already purchased a defective product are then either offered a refund, a replacement, or instructions on how to repair the defect.
However, not all purchasers of recalled ladders are notified of the recall. The owners of these ladders are at risk of eventually suffering a serious injury related to the defect. When this happens, manufacturers are notorious for offering little to no assistance for the variety of damages suffered as a result of the defect. This is why many victims of defective ladder injuries turn to product liability lawyers for help getting financial support.
Major Ladder Recalls
Over the years, both large corporations and smaller ladder manufacturers have had to recall products after a hazardous defect was discovered. Werner Co. and Louisville Ladder are the two most prominent examples, as these companies dominate the ladder retail market in the United States and Canada. These are some of the most common ladders on the market, which means their defective products do the most damage.
Recalls For Defective Werner Attic Ladders
Werner has had at least two cases of widespread defects in their attic ladders. Both of these models fold into the ceiling and are pulled down when someone needs to access the attic.
Space Master Recall
The Space Master sliding attic ladders (model number WS2308) were recalled in 1997 because of a manufacturing defect, after being sold in home improvement stores throughout the country for five months. These ladders were designed to be held in place by a metal hook when not in use. However, some of the ladders in this line had their hooks installed incorrectly, which would cause the ladder to randomly drop down from the ceiling. After the recall, people who had already purchased a Space Master ladder were issued instructions for inspection and repair.
Easy Access Ladder Never Recalled Despite Numerous Complaints
Werner also had an issue with the Easy Access Attic Ladder, which was similar in design to the Space Master. Even though the company was receiving up to 80 complaints each week about defects in this ladder, it was never recalled. Eventually, a group of consumers organized and filed a class action lawsuit against Werner in 2013, alleging that the ladder’s hinges were made out of cheap, flimsy metal. However, only the representative named in the claim was awarded compensation for his injuries. Everyone else was only given a similar product as a replacement.
Defective Louisville Ladders Lead To Injuries & Recalls
Louisville Ladder has issued recalls for several of their products, although consumers have also suffered injuries due to defects in ladders which were never recalled. Products which have been recalled include:
Extension Ladders Recalled For Failing Locks
In 2008, 25,000 units of the Louisville/Davidson and Michigan Brand Fiberglass Extension Ladders were recalled because the extension (or “fly” section) on some units failed to lock, which posed a fall hazard to anyone using the ladder.
Stepladders Recalled For Step Defects
In 1999, Louisville Ladder recalled about 10,700 RIGID® stepladders. Some of these ladders had steps which were too short and improperly attached to the rest of the ladder. Steps with this defect could easily detach from the ladder, leading to a serious fall.
Recall Of Industrial Ladders For Weak Rungs
In 2005, Louisville Ladder recalled about 3,000 units of their Type IA industrial ladders with fiberglass rails and aluminum rungs. These models were found to have weak rungs, which could easily break and cause the user of the ladder to fall.
Taking Legal Action After A Defective Ladder Injury
When someone suffers a serious injury in an accident caused by a defective product, it’s important to demand accountability from the product’s manufacturer. Businesses have a duty to make sure all of their products are safe and free of hazards before they go on the market. When a product manufacturer fails to meet this duty, their customers often suffer severe and debilitating injuries. In some cases, families are forced to grieve after their loved one dies in a preventable accident caused by one of these defective products.
Unfortunately, it’s far too common for these manufacturers to deny liability, or to offer the bare minimum in compensation for the people hurt by their products. A refund, replacement ladder, or instructions on how to repair a defect won’t take back the accident that left you with severe injuries, and they won’t provide the financial support victims of serious injuries need during and after recovery.
Our personal injury lawyers specialize in cases involving accidents caused by defective products. We have experience building cases against manufacturers of all types of defective devices, drugs, and products. When these companies fail to make things right after one of their customers gets injured, we take them to court and make sure the victim gets all the financial support they’ll need for damages like medical expenses, missed time from work, pain, suffering, and more. To find out if you could have a case for a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a defective ladder, contact us today and learn more in a free consultation.