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There are over a hundred thousand ladder accidents annually in the U.S. requiring hospital emergency room treatment. Our engineers have investigated well over a hundred ladder accidents, and Dr. Ojalvo is an active member of the national ANSI A-14 Ladder Standards committee.

Although many ladder-related injuries result from misuse, such as an improper extension ladder lean angle against a wall causing it to slip outward, the use of a damaged ladder, or failing to lock a step ladder’s spreaders, many ladder accidents occur due to design or manufacturing defects. Many stepladders ladders are excessively flexible, which can lead to falls due to a racking instability.  Additionally, some extension ladders are equipped with poorly designed rung locks; both of these defects can cause climbers to fall. Other defects can be introduced during manufacturing, such as material flaws or improperly seated rivets. In addition, the fine-print warnings and instructions on most ladders are hard to read, or ignored by users.

Our engineers have been assisting attorneys and insurance representatives in investigating accidents since 1990. We have a highly qualified staff of engineers with advanced degrees from top-tier universities who have provided testimony on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants at trial

Previous Cases

Falls From Stepladders

We have investigated numerous stepladder accidents involving unexplained falls where no obvious manufacturing defect or structural failure can be found. When a ladder is too flexible, a climber may inadvertently cause the rear legs to shift sidewise, raising one of the legs off the ground. Later, as a result of the climber ascending the ladder, the raised leg suddenly strikes the ground causing him to loose his balance and fall. In several cases, we have demonstrated how modest and easily attainable improvements in side rail stiffness improvements can reduce this problem and prevent accidents.

Extension Ladder Slips off Low Pitch Roof

A handyman was repairing some siding on a split-level roof when the extension ladder he had placed on the lower roof slid out from under him. We demonstrated that the modest slant of the lower roof produced a significant tendency for the lower side rail legs to slide out, and that the posted warnings against such action were present on the incident ladder. This resulted in a successful homeowner’s claim defense.