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Defective Ladders & Scaffolding

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 24,000 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities occur each year due to workplace ladder fall accidents and scaffolding collapses. Ladder fall accidents and injuries that involve collapsed scaffolding are primarily seen in the roofing,  tree servicecommercial painting and construction industry.

Falls remain a leading cause of unintentional workplace injury and fatality in the United States. Among painters and construction workers, an estimated 80 percent of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments involve a ladder. Around 43 percent of fatal falls in the last decade have involved a ladder. Many other fall accidents on construction sites involve unsafe or faulty scaffolding.

Because falls are the leading cause of construction site injuries and deaths, OSHA and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have conducted a national campaign to prevent workplace accidents and falls.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated catastrophic injury lawyer who has had success representing victims of construction injuries and ladder fall accidents. 

The Lyon Firm works with OSHA officials and construction site design experts to determine whether employer negligence, negligent operational procedures, or defective ladders or scaffolding products caused an injury. 

Common Causes of Ladder Fall Accidents

According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the number of ladder-related injuries in the United States increased by more than 50 percent from 1990 to 2005.

Common injuries to construction workers and painters include spinal and brain injury. Bone fractures are the most common type of injury, with legs and feet the most frequently injured body parts. The following factors regularly contribute to ladder fall accidents:

  • Selecting the Wrong Type of Ladder—ladders too short or insufficient for the task. Many ladder accidents result from using ladders too short or weak.
  • Using Old, Worn or Damaged Ladders. Ladders have a limited lifespan for safe use. The weight supported over time may cause a ladder to wear down.
  • Not considering a ladder’s weight capacity. All ladders are designed to support a certain maximum weight. If that limit is exceeded, the ladder may collapse and cause injury.
  • Wet, greasy, or oily footwear.
  • Poor training. Up to 70 percent of victims of fall accidents were never provided with verbal or written instructions on the safe use of ladders.
  • OSHA Fall Safety Violation. Failure to secure or brace ladders at the bottom or top.

Incorrect Use Leads to Ladder Fall Accidents

Individual workers using ladders are often unaware of the severe risks. Safety experts say ladders and scaffolding should be treated with the same caution as any dangerous construction tool. Improper ladder training and human error is a leading cause of ladder fall accidents and injury.

Only use a ladder in the way the manufacturer intended it to be used for. When working on a ladder, consider the following safety tips:

  • Keep one hand on a side rail at all times. Over half of ladder fall accidents involve victims holding objects with one or both hands while climbing up or down the ladder.
  • Keep centered on the ladder. A good rule is to keep the belt buckle between the rails.
  • Keep body straight and close to the ladder.
  • Don’t reach too far. Overreaching is a major cause of ladder accidents. Use a taller ladder to reach higher.
  • Don’t try to reposition the ladder while standing on it.
  • Always use three points of contact with the ladders, or in other words, keep at least a total of three hands and feet in contact with the ladder at all times.
  • Incorrect Placement of Ladders can cause accidents. Always place the ladder on level and firm ground. Never place ladders in front of an unguarded door.
  • Use a helper to support the base of a ladder.

Defective Ladders

Ladders are one of the most widely used piece of equipment on roofing and construction sites. But due to design defects or faulty materials used in manufacturing, some defective ladders put workers at risk of severe injury. Thousands of workers are injured each year due to ladder defects. Some ladder defects may include:

  • Ladders produced with rungs that bend at a weight below the weight listed on the warning label
  • Telescoping ladders may break at full extension
  • The locking mechanisms on some defective ladders can fail and result in major injury.
  • Some defective ladders collapse too quickly
  • Ladders may not have proper traction on the hold holds and present slipping hazards.
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A Voice for Those who have suffered 

Why are these cases important?

Serious injuries and accidents often result through no fault of the injured party, yet the injured victim suffers from life altering physical, mental and financial losses. Such economic and human losses can have devastating financial consequences on individuals and families if not properly compensated. Tort law allows those individuals to seek just legal recourse through personal injury lawsuits.

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Questions about Personal Injury Cases

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Any kind of negligence by an individual or company that causes injury or harm can lead to filing a personal injury lawsuit. The amount a plaintiff is entitled to depends on several factors, particularly how egregious the act and how serious the injury.

Personal injury attorneys generally only will take cases on a confidential and contingency fee basis, which means your lawyer will only get paid if he or she is able to reach a settlement or positive verdict. The Lyon Firm will review your case for free and assess what compensation any plaintiff can expect through litigation.

Personal Injury cases can range from minor auto accidents to complex lawsuits filed against large corporations. The Lyon Firm has handled both with equal care. Severe injury requires legal action on occasion, no matter if the injury is the result of a vehicle accident, a dog bite, a boating accident, workplace injury, defective consumer products, medical malpractice, or toxic exposure.

What is the Process?

Pre-Suit Investigation and Negotiations: Personal injury lawsuits are unique and require a thorough investigation before a lawsuit is filed. An initial investigation involves gathering all relevant medical records, accident reports, and interviews with available witnesses.  Preservation letters are drafted to notify the defendant of the case. The duty to preserve electronic evidence is critical in most cases to prevent spoliation.

Filing a Lawsuit in Cincinnati: If pre-suit negotiations are unsuccessful, then a lawsuit must be filed to preserve the statute of limitations.  Filing a lawsuit early in the process is often necessary to begin gathering evidence while the witnesses memories are fresh and documents remain available.

Once suit is filed by your personal injury lawyer, the court will set a case management schedule and the parties will begin exchanging information in the formal process of discovery. Depositions will be taken to preserve testimony for trial and to understand what certain witnesses are likely to say at trial.

Proving Negligence, Causation and Damages: In addition to lay witness testimony and other documentary evidence, personal injury claims rely upon medical and scientific evidence to prove negligence, causation and damages. The chosen expert in a case must have a reliable and sound basis in science and in the facts of the case or his opinion may not be admissible under the rules of evidence.

In the areas of Toxic and Environmental Torts, the admission of expert testimony may be scrutinized harder than in other areas simply because the subject may not have been as widely tested and may rest on novel scientific theories.

Are there any limits to what I can recover?

Each state will vary. Under Ohio law, an injured party may recover damages related to medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, loss of enjoyment of life, past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, and punitive damages. The numerical limits are as such:

  1. Non-Catastrophic Injury:   The non-economic award is limited to $250,000 per plaintiff, or three times the economic loss, up to $350,000 per plaintiff. A maximum of $500,000 for each “occurrence.”
  2. Catastrophic Injury: No limits.

The Lyon Firm may be able to file injury claims and recover rightful compensation for clients for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings and long-term disability.

Our Victories

The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against negligent individuals or companies to obtain just compensation under the law. 



(Brown County, Kentucky):   The Lyon Firm was second chair a case involving a driver texting and driving when he crossed the median, killing a father of four. The case was resolved once discovery confirmed the cell phone records proved the texting-related incident. The settlement will pay for the surviving childrens’ education. The driver was likely facing additional criminal charges at the time of the settlement.



(Cincinnati, Ohio):  The Lyon Firm was lead counsel in a $495,000 settlement. This case involved a motorcycle operator who sustained fractures of the calcaneus, talus, medial cuneiform, tarsal bones, and tarsometatarsal when a car ignored its driving lane and crossed into his right-of-way. Settlement provided repayment of medical bills of $20,000 and funds for future education to re-enter the work force in a less physically-demanding job.