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Liability for Ladder Accidents in New York

Liability for Ladder Accidents in New York

A ladder can pose serious dangers. If it is defective or not secured properly, the person using it can fall from a significant height and sustain severe injuries or fatality. Ladder accidents can happen in the workplace, on construction sites, at stores, and home. No matter where the accident occurred, you may be able to recover compensation if someone else's negligence caused your injuries.

Retail Store Accidents Involving Ladders
Ladders are used in a variety of retail environments. Whether you work at a clothing shop, a supermarket, bookstore, hardware store, or in the warehouse part of a retail store, ladders are available to employees for many reasons. Space for retail products is often maximized by stacking high shelves. Ladders can also help employees with routine tasks like cleaning windows or changing lightbulbs.

If you've been injured as a result of a ladder accident in the workplace, Workers' Compensation will cover related medical expenses and a certain amount of lost wages. While these laws generally bar an injured worker from suing their employer, you may be able to bring a personal injury action against a third-party whose negligence caused your injuries. For example, sometimes a distributor or another party can be on the premises — if their recklessness or carelessness contributed to your accident, they may be liable.

If you were a customer who climbed on a store ladder and was injured, you may be able to sue if you meet certain conditions. Although customers should always wait for a store employee to assist, a store may still have a "duty to warn" if ladders are kept out in the open. If the ladder was not blocked with a rope or did not conspicuously display a warning or "employees only" sign, the store may have been negligent. Depending on the facts surrounding the case, an injured customer may be entitled to recover compensation for their injuries.

Ladder Accidents on New York Construction Sites
Ladder safety is a vital part of working on a construction site. New York has specific laws that protect construction workers from gravity-related accidents, including ladder falls. Under Labor Law § 240, employers must provide safety gear to those on construction sites involved in height-related work. Depending on the work to be performed, safety equipment can include scaffolds, pulleys, braces, ropes, ladders, slings, stays, and other devices.

While construction workers can't sue their employers for ladder-related accidents due to New York's Workers' Compensation system, they may be able to pursue a claim against a negligent third-party such as a subcontractor, the owner, or another party.

Product Liability for Ladder Accidents
Sometimes, ladder accidents occur because a ladder is defective. Dangerous ladder conditions may not be noticeable at first glance. A ladder could be flawed in its design or have a manufacturing defect. It also might not display a warning about proper usage.
Defects are not uncommon in ladders. In 2018, The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled a home use ladder widely sold at home improvement retail stores throughout the country as a result of fall hazards.

Defects in a ladder can include:

  • Loose rungs or steps
  • Uneven or unstable footing
  • Missing screws
  • Failure to lock in place
  • Bowing
  • Bent hinges

Before getting on a ladder, it's critical to exercise safety precautions — do a thorough inspection to make sure there is no bending or warping, the screws and bolts are tightly in place, the ladder is level on the ground, and it can hold your weight.

If you suffered ladder injuries as a result of a defect, the manufacturer, retail store, a supplier, or any other party in the chain of production may be held liable under a theory of product liability.

Contact an Experienced New York City Ladder Accident Attorney
If you were injured on a ladder or fell from one, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An experienced attorney can protect your legal rights and advise you of your remedies. A personal injury attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your New York City ladder accident injuries, medical expenses, and time lost from work.

The Popick Law Firm has over thirty years of experience obtaining compensation for victims of New York City ladder accidents. Located in Fresh Meadows, NY, The Popick Law Firm handles personal injury cases in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Long Island's Nassau and Suffolk counties. Contact The Popick Law Firm today for a consultation.