Ladders are very important tools, especially on construction sites. Unfortunately, not every ladder is safe to use, and countless people are injured in ladder falls each year.
But what happens if you or a loved one falls from a ladder, sustains injuries in the process, and it’s not your fault? In that case, you might wonder if you can sue your employer for a ladder fall and related damages. Read on to learn more, or get in touch with Schwartzapfel Lawyers by dialing 516-342-2200 or visiting us online today!
Ladder Injury Statistics
Ladder injuries might be more common than you think. In fact, about (22,000) people across the U.S. are injured while using ladders every single year. For example, someone might fall from a ladder if it slips while deployed, or they might accidentally have a ladder fall on them. Here, some of the more common ladder injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Serious bruises and external lacerations
- Strains, sprains, and ligament tears
- Spinal damage
Unfortunately, some ladder accidents can lead to much more severe injuries or even fatalities. For example, (161) people suffered fatal injuries from ladders in 2020, and about 65% of those ladder fatalities came from movable ladders.
That’s why if you or a loved one was injured in a ladder-related accident, you need to know your rights and lawsuit options to effectively pursue financial compensation.
Liability For Workplace Accidents
When it comes to ladder injury liability, your employer may or may not bear responsibility for any damages. This will depend on a variety of factors.
To that end, you shouldn’t assume that simply because you were injured while using a ladder at the workplace, your employer is automatically responsible for injuries and medical bills. This is because, while your employer may be found liable for breaches in reasonable safety practices and procedures, they are not necessarily liable for your own bodily safety.
Generally, if your employer:
- Prevented you from having access to a safe ladder
- Forced you to work in an unsafe environment
- Deliberately caused the ladder accident in some way
Then, when all three (3) elements are met, your employer may be held liable for your injuries and be forced to pay damages.
However, if you have a ladder fall purely because of accidental factors — for example, a sudden storm blows in, and this “Act of God” causes your ladder to topple over — your employer will likely not be found responsible for any injuries.
Can You Sue Your Employer For A Ladder Fall?
You may be able to sue your employer for a ladder fall if the accident fulfills two (2) basic requirements. To wit:
Your Employer Was Negligent
First, your employer has to have been provably negligent, and that negligence needs to have caused your ladder fall or related accident.
As an example, if a construction worker isn’t provided with the right safety equipment while performing work on a ladder, the employer is being deliberately negligent. Every construction employer knows that they have a responsibility to provide workers with adequate safety gear, including working ladders, gloves, hard hats, etc. If an employer doesn’t provide a worker with this equipment, it is guilty of being negligent.
Furthermore, employers are responsible for enforcing safe ladder practices and procedures. For instance, it’s up to your employer to ensure that every employee who uses a ladder on the worksite is trained and educated in its proper and safe use. For instance, if a new employee ascends a ladder without knowing how to work it, that employee’s construction company might be found negligent.
You Suffered Distinct Injuries
The second element that must be proven in any successful lawsuit is that you suffered distinct injuries from your ladder fall. For example, suppose you fall from a ladder but escape unharmed from the incident. In that case, you cannot sue your employer, even if they were demonstrably negligent.
This isn’t to say that your employer likely won’t get into any trouble. It’s quite possible for an employee to report them to OSHA or to some other organization. Still, any lawsuit you file against them probably won’t be successful.
What’s The Statute Of Limitations For A Construction Accident Lawsuit?
If you believe you have grounds for a successful lawsuit against your employer, you’ll need to file your claim before the statute of limitations expires. This is essentially the time limit for your case. After it expires, you likely won’t be able to successfully sue your employer, even if you have lots of evidence proving negligence.
For all personal injury and liability cases related to construction accidents, the statute of limitations is three (3) years from the date of the incident. Note: This is not the date on which you check into the hospital, discover injuries, or report the incident to your employer.
And while three (3) years may sound like ample time, it can go by much quicker than you think. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get in touch with knowledgeable attorneys like Schwartzapfel Lawyers at the earliest opportunity.
What if You Are Partially Responsible for Injuries?
In some instances, you might be found partially responsible for your own injuries in a ladder accident or fall.
Say that you take the matter to court, and an investigation into the issue determines that you should have known the ladder was unsuitable for use, even though your employer should also have taken steps to ensure your safety.
Under the rules of pure comparative negligence, your ultimate damage reward could be reduced by a certain percentage. For instance, if you are found to be 60% at fault for your own injuries, your overall damages will probably be reduced by 60% as well.
As such, you should speak with a qualified personal injury attorney before suing your employer for a ladder fall. They’ll be able to tell you what, if any, effect pure comparative negligence may have on your case and overall compensation. In a court battle, they may also be able to mitigate the effect of pure comparative negligence to maximize your damages.
Suing Your Employer vs. Collecting Workers’ Comp
There’s another caveat to suing your employer for a ladder fall that applies in most cases: in so doing, you effectively surrender your ability to collect workers’ compensation for the same injuries.
For instance, say that you broke your leg after falling from a ladder that was unstable or otherwise unsuitable for workplace use. You believe your employer was negligent because they did not provide you with a suitable ladder or warn you that the ladder was dangerous.
In this situation, you might be able to sue your employer and collect damages for your injuries. Nevertheless, undertaking such an action will likely render you ineligible for workers’ comp payments during the interim.
And so, if you aren’t sure whether you should take workers’ comp or sue your employer for ladder-related negligence, you should speak with skilled NYS attorneys ASAP.
Determining Your Best Option And Getting Legal Assistance
The right attorneys can help you determine the best option going forward, as:
- They’ll have extensive experience in this case area, having helped many other New Yorkers just like you.
- They’ll be able to look at the details of your case and determine the likelihood of reaching a successful legal outcome (e.g., if the evidence doesn’t support your claim, it might be wiser to simply accept workers’ comp, even if you believe your employer is responsible for your injuries).
- They’ll be able to provide you with sound legal counsel regarding finances, lawsuit and alternative dispute resolution timelines, and more.
If you have further questions, Schwartzapfel Lawyers are among the best people to contact. That’s because, over the past forty (40) years, we’ve helped thousands of New Yorkers just like you recover the money and benefits they deserve. For more information, contact us today online or at 516-342-2200. It will be our honor and privilege to help you as best we can, however we can, no matter your situation.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
At the end of the day, experienced attorneys are the best people to talk to when deciding whether you want to sue your employer or pursue workers’ compensation. That’s why you should contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at the earliest opportunity.
Our knowledgeable attorneys can break down your options, provide you with stellar legal support, and represent you effectively both in and out of court. To speak with one of our highly trained representatives at no charge, simply dial 516-342-2200. Alternatively, you can schedule your free case evaluation when you visit us online today!
But you shouldn’t wait, as your window to file a claim and recover all the money and benefits you are entitled to may soon close forever. To keep that from happening, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now!
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!