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Safety Protection Against Falls at Work

Knowing how to properly use and maintain ladders while working is life-saving knowledge to have for safety protection against falls at work – and at home. Daily, within the United States, at least two thousand citizens are critically hurt during the use of a ladder. If you add in the occasional slip and fall occurrence, that number goes up considerably. For a hundred of them, long-term disability or possibly even permanent disability can be the end result due to their injuries.

Fall Protection and Training

Fall protection and training will consistently play key roles in keeping your employees safe. Worker’s compensation insurance premiums increase as more employees file claims. Falls happen every single day and at least one ladder accident causes a person’s death. At that point, you must ask yourself, “What is the cost to someone when told they are permanently disabled, can never work again or worse.” Loss of income alone can be devastating to a family. Effective January 2017, OSHA established updated employer requirements connected to the performance, design, and utilization of fall protection structures. The update raises consistency between construction standards and the general industry.

The majority of industrial companies’ biggest expenses due to employee injuries deal with ladder-related falls. The financial weight can be astounding. The dreadful human cost is even more shocking. With effort, fall protection and prevention, when it comes to a slip and fall, ladders or aerial access equipment, will most likely be a huge focus the future. Think of this scenario. If you were on the cliff of a mountain, would you rather build a fence around the top of that cliff for safety? On the other hand, would you prefer to station an ambulance at the base of the mountain just in case?

All safety equipment is designed with its potential dangers in mind. During the design process the attempt to eliminate all of those red flags. The designers outline everything in their hierarchy of controls. In layman’s terms, they engineer out the danger. If you do not see a path to engineer the danger out, safeguard against the danger. If guarding against it is not possible, then you must properly warn, supply personal protection equipment and adequately train people on its use and dangers.

Technology of Ladders

Many things over the years have improved thanks to technology. The time has long past to improve the safety of ladders. The primary design of conventional ladders has been untouched for centuries. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the rate of ladder injuries has grown in the past decade. Sadly, a team somewhere reviewed the design and decided that the original blueprint of the ladder could not be enhanced. This is why you will see many warning labels on ladders. These visible warnings force safety professionals to schedule a myriad of training meetings. These meetings teach employees to not do things on a ladder that everyone knows they are going to do anyway.

Stepladders actually present their set of special problems. Falls still happen due to over-reaching. They also have compliance rules pertaining to sustaining three points of contact while in use. You should constantly maintain three points of contact when you ascend and descend on a ladder. For example, there should be a combination of two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot at all times. Now, what should you do once you are no longer in climb mode and begin working? Technically, you are still supposed to have three contact points. Most personnel feel it is difficult to work with just one hand. Tying off above certain height levels is also something recommended. Lastly, what do you do when it comes to working on surfaces that are uneven or over stairs? The debate continues.

Aerial safety cages are another means of reaching heights. They are not actually considered ladders and are not scaffolds or power lifts either. Aerial safety cages permit the operator to perform their work in a completely enclosed space. The unit is a height-adjustable platform that is in compliance with all tie off and guardrail rules. This newer type of access equipment is more adaptable than traditional ladders or powered lifts. Aerial safety cages are capable of adjusting for working on stairs or uneven surfaces. They cages are approved for use surrounding live electrical circuits because they are assembled with non-conductive fiberglass rails.

Protection and prevention against a fall on the job begins with understanding how individuals use ladders. Just as important, there needs to be continued concentration on how people injure themselves using ladders. With continued research in this area, there can be real opportunities to designing new and safer products for climbing. If you are hurt or need worker’s compensation answers, Goodin Abernathy LLP can assist you. Call us for a free consultation if you have been injured on the job.

Ladder Safety & Workers Comp

Ladder Safety & Workers Comp

Every year, hundreds of workers wind up hospitalized for a ladder accident due to gross violations of safety protocol; however, there are plenty of isolated accidents that can happen for any number of preventable reasons. Whatever the reason may be for a ladder safety accident, there are a number of things that you should always keep in mind to tell whether or not you might be entitled to work injury compensation.

Ladder Safety

Proper ladder safety begins with having the right ladder. The majority of ladder accidents can be avoided just by making sure that the right kind of ladder has been chosen for the job. However, in many cases, the quality of the ladder being overlooked tends to be one of the major reasons why somebody ends up getting hurt.

Responsible business owners will always make sure that ladders in all areas are consistently examined and inspected to confirm that they are dependable for the workers. In the event that a ladder becomes compromised, fails or breaks while a worker is standing on it due to a failure to properly maintain it, a critical aspect of the case would be just how diligent the employer or management’s efforts were to make sure that said ladder was properly examined and cleared for safe use.

Self-Supporting Ladder Misuse

It isn’t just about the objective quality and safety of the ladder but also its default design issues. Certain ladders are built in a self-supporting design, making them safe to use without necessarily having to propping them up against something larger and supportive. When it comes to ladders that are not self-supporting, however, things can get a little bit complicated. A non-self-supporting ladder can be just as dangerous as an improperly maintained ladder. If it is used at an angle where the distance from its top support to the bottom foot of the ladder is more than a quarter of its working length, it’s crucial to maintain it.

Surface Stability

Even if the ladder is in passable condition and properly used, a concern also involves the stability of the surface it stands on. In order to make sure that a ladder is truly safe to operate, it needs to be confirmed that the surface is properly level, free of debris and overall stable.

There can’t be any unintentional slipping or movement that happens when pressure is put on the ladder of any kind. Even if it doesn’t seem to be that significant at first, a moment of unexpected compromise when there is an actual risk of an injury can prove to be disastrous very quickly.

Employer Supervision Oversights

Just as it is important for an employer to make sure that the state of the ladder is optimized for safety, it is also important for them to make sure that the employees have been properly trained. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure effective training programs are provided and put in place, so that each employee knows exactly how to use the ladders properly. In addition to confirming that every employee is familiar with the proper safety protocol, consistent regular safety meetings or “tool box talks” are also standard in the construction and painting industry.

In-patient Hospitalization and Multiple Injuries

If you require inpatient hospitalization because of a ladder accident, the employer must file a record of your in-patient hospitalization with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within 24 hours. If the employer fails to file a record of the inpatient hospitalization, they can very easily be held liable for negligence to follow through with due process. OSHA is also concerned with multiple injuries from single construction accidents.

Negligence Claims

In addition to making an Indiana Worker’s Compensation claim, your accident might also involve a negligence claim against a third party. This means if an accident was caused by a worker from another company or an independent party (someone besides your employer or co-workers), then you might have a legal claim beyond the recoverable benefits from the worker’s compensation law. Our firm handles both negligence and Indiana Worker’s Compensation claims, and we know what to ask about and look for with these cases. When we can prosecute injury claims to collect damages beyond those offered through the Indiana Worker’s Compensation law, we go after them and fight for our clients.


With Indiana workers compensation claims, you can get the justice you need for using the state’s laws for work accidents. The law requires employers to offer benefits covering medical expenses, lost income from time off work (TTD) and permanent partial impairment (PPI) compensation. In order to make sure that your case is as strong as possible, you will want to make sure that you have all of the necessary details in order. Make sure to accurately report the time of the accident, all of the details about the environment, any medical details provided by your primary health care providers and a complete chronological report of the events leading up to and following the accident.

The more details that you can provide about your Indiana workers compensation claim case, the better of a chance you will have to get the kind of work injury compensation that you deserve. If you would like to know more about how you might be able to present a strong worker’s injury case, feel free to get in contact with us for a free consultation.

Teen Drivers and Summer

Teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 account for just a little over 6% of the drivers on roads in the United States. Parents provide teenagers with cars because they want their kids to be independent and not rely on them to get around. Unfortunately, this newfound independence can have consequences. Teenagers lack the ability to recognize hazardous driving situations and often forego caution when they’re driving and end up taking unnecessary risks. That’s why they’re more likely to get into accidents than experienced adults.

Some Facts Regarding Teen Driving

• In 2013, there were around 2,524 teenage fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents.
• Around 120 deaths happened when a motorcycle was involved in the accident.
• Around 55% of the high school students surveyed confirmed that they wore seatbelts when they drove.
• Around 22% of the teens surveyed admitted that they rode with a driver who had drunk alcohol.
• June (summer) had the highest number of car accident fatalities among teens. 260 individuals died in 2013 for this reason.

As you can see, teenagers are involved in an alarmingly high number of accidents and many of them involve fatalities or severe injuries. Even the most responsible teenagers give in to the temptation to go past the speed limit or check their phones while driving.

Teen drivers don’t just place themselves in risk, but also everyone else present on the road and inside the vehicle. A recent study conducted by AAA or American Automobile Association concluded that 10 people die as a result of teen driving accidents every day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Most of these accidents happen because the teenager is distracted during driving.

What is Driver Distraction?

A driver can be distracted by a number of things inside and outside the vehicle. Adult drivers learn to keep their attention focused on the road and on their vehicles but they too can also get distracted. Teenagers are more prone to driver distraction than adults; that, coupled with a teenager’s tendency to be reckless while driving in general can lead to serious accidents. Many speculate that around 60% of accidents involving teenage drivers are caused due to driver distraction. Here are some facts that support that:

• In a nationwide survey, about 32% of high school students admitted that they texted or sent an email while they were driving.
• 56% of the teens surveyed admitted that they spoke on their cell phone while at the wheel.
• 34% of individuals between the age of 16 and 17 admit that they send or respond to messages while driving.
• 48% of individuals between the ages of 12 to 17 admitted that they were present in the car when the driver was distracted by texts and messages.

According to research, talking on cell phones can significantly slow the reaction time down and doubles the chances of an accident. Teenagers are likely to respond as slowly as 70-year old drivers if they’re distracted by a phone call.

Teen Drivers and Underage Alcohol Consumption

Teenagers can be reckless and take risks and the presence of alcohol in their system only aggravates this. According to the non-profit organization MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving):

• Around 25% of all teen car accidents with fatalities involve underage drinking while driving.
• Nearly 6% of individuals of the age 16 and 17 admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.
• Over 15% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.
• 13% of students in 12th grade admitted to driving under the influence.
• According to a survey conducted by the CDC, 17% of young drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 in fatal vehicle crashes had a BAC of .08% or higher, which is considered the legal limit for people over the age of 21.

Underage drinking is also more likely to happen during summer when teenagers attend parties, sleepovers, and go out on trips together.

The Connection Between Summer and Teenage Accidents

Summer is considered the worst time for teen driving and this time is also known as “100 Deadliest Days for Teenage Driving”. Teenagers consider summer a time for freedom and fun. They consider themselves free from responsibilities and use their vehicles for more than just to drive to the local mall to go to school. Teenagers drive farther and go on longer trips during summer because they have more time on their hands.

This increases the likelihood of them being involved in accidents and being reckless. Parents need to be extra vigilant and communicate with their children, especially during summer. Experts have observed that regular communication between parents and teenagers regarding driver’s safety can encourage them to be more cautious and not indulge in as many risky behaviors.

What Can Parents Do?

Parents of teenagers can minimize the chances of teen accidents by teaching their children good driving habits and being aware of the risks involved. Here are some steps parents can take:

• Come to an Agreement – Before handing the teenager keys to their new car, parents can discuss some basic rules to follow. For example, parents can come to an agreement with their children that the car keys will be taken away if they text while driving.

• Switching Cell Phones or other devices Off – Parents can encourage their children to switch the device off and place it in the center console while driving. That’ll ensure they’re not distracted by calls or message ringtones.

• Music – Most teenagers use apps like Spotify or Pandora. Parents can encourage them to use the car’s existing system instead as that’ll minimize the likelihood of distraction and accidents.

Parents can also drive with their children and be in the passenger’s seat. They can teach safe driving techniques and encourage driving awareness.

What Can You Do?

If you’re involved in an accident with a teen driver, be sure to contact the authorities and get legal assistance immediately. A lawyer will protect your interests and ensure the case is handled fairly for all parties involved.

Work Injury Falling from Scaffolding

Work Injury Falling from Scaffolding

Construction workers place their lives at risk every day on the job. Accidents and falls can happen, even with the best safety equipment and highest safety standards in place. Sometimes, construction projects aren’t as safe and secure as people would like them to be, which increases the risk of accidents.

Workers on Scaffolding - Work InjuriesThe construction industry ranks high in job-related accidents and fatalities. Most of these fatalities and work injures are caused by falls from scaffolding and other such areas of the project site. Scaffolding must be secure and should be able to bear the weight and movements of the construction worker easily. If the construction worker falls and is injured, it’s important to carry out a thorough investigation to determine the true cause of the accident and understand liability. An experienced work injury attorney can help.

What are the Scaffolding Safety Standards?

Scaffolding is an important aspect of all construction sites and some tasks and installations can’t be carried out without it. While the authorities recognize this and know there’s an inherent risk involved in all construction tasks, they have determined that this risk can be minimized by improving the safety standards of the scaffolding.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, state organizations, and even private businesses post separate safety standards that will help ensure construction workers as secure as they can be. Here’s a brief introduction to the standards construction companies must follow:

• Scaffolding should be able to hold and support four times the weight anticipated as necessary. For example, if the anticipated weight of the of the construction worker and his equipment is 200 pounds, the scaffolding should be able to support 800 pounds.

• A scaffold should be securely anchored and shouldn’t be supported by loose fixtures like barrels or bricks.

• The plank should overlap by at least 12 inches to provide adequate anchor to the scaffolding.

• To provide enough balance, the planks should extend their supports by at least 6 to 18 inches. This will ensure the planks have enough weight at the edge and dont tip over.

• The scaffolding should have overhead protection if there’s work being done overhead.

• Construction supervisors should ensure there are no tools, debris, equipment, or other such materials present on the scaffold. Obstructions can lead to accidents, especially if the construction work is distracted by their work and can’t look down at their feet.

• The construction site should not have shore scaffolds and lean-to scaffolds as they’re unsafe and prohibited.

If the construction company doesn’t provide secure and properly anchored scaffolding, they’re not following the established standards and can be held liable if there’s an accident.

What Should You Do You If You Fall From the Scaffolding?

Your first priority should be to get medical attention and focus on your health. Injuries caused by falls from scaffolding are often serious and should be addressed immediately. Some injuries might grow worse if you delay in seeking medical attention.

After you’ve received the treatment, your next step is to call a worker’s compensation attorney who will help you with your case. Your family can also call an attorney on your behalf. Here’s what you should do immediately after you’re well enough you speak with a lawyer:

• Don’t Speak with Company Attorneys – The construction company will respond quickly in the case of accidents and attempt to minimize the compensation amount as much as they can. It’s important that you don’t speak with them without an attorney present or without discussing your case with the attorney. You’re perfectly within your rights to deny a meeting with your employers until you’ve spoken with your attorney.

• Appoint Some to Represent Your Interests – Don’t hire attorneys recommended by your employers and don’t take legal advice from company lawyers. Do your research and find someone who will work with you and for your interests. Make sure you hire an attorney as quickly as you can because such cases are subject to the Statute of Limitations and must be filed within 2 years of the incident.

• Discuss the Accident with Your Attorney – After you’ve hired someone reliable to help you, explain the entire situation to them as factually and honestly as you can. In such situations, it can be difficult to recall the details but it’s important to help your attorney as much as you can.

• Give the Attorney Access to Your Medical Reports – The attorney needs to understand the extent of your injuries in order to plan the compensation amount. You should allow them to have a copy of your injuries and access to any observations your doctor may have made during the treatment.

The attorney will collect all evidence, prepare the paperwork, and be present in all interviews and negotiations with the construction company and their legal team. This will ensure you’re not pressurized into settling for less than what you deserve.

The Lawsuits Regarding Falls from Scaffold

There are three things an attorney must establish in order for the lawsuit to be successful in courts and they are:

• It’s the defendant’s responsibility to provide safety and security to you and make sure the scaffolding is safe to use.

• The defendant didn’t perform their duty and provide a secure enough scaffold and the construction site wasn’t up to normal industry standards.

• Their failure to perform this duty led to your injury and accident.

Before the attorney files a lawsuit, they’ll determine who is liable by determining who is responsible for supplying scaffolding material, installing it, and maintaining it. Most of these cases are settled outside court and in the presence of attorneys on both sides. However, if you refuse to settle outside court if you believe the compensation they offer isn’t enough and won’t cover all of your expenses.

What’s Included in the Compensation?

A compensation amount will include medical expenses, loss of wages because you missed work, pain and distress caused by the injury, loss of normal life because of resultant disabilities or permanent injuries, loss of income because you’re no longer able-bodied enough to work in your industry.

Your attorney will take your circumstances into consideration and determine the compensation amount carefully.

Warehouse Workers’ Safety

In recent years Indiana’s warehousing sector has been outpacing national and regional growth, according to an analysis by the Indiana Business Review. ( That means more warehouse workers here in the Hoosier state.  Warehouse workers face unique hazards on the job; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration publishes a pocket guide to safety for warehouse workers.

Hazards include dangers associated with docks, forklifts, conveyors, and charging stations as well as manual lifting and poor ergonomics.  OSHA offers tips to manage these risks, including being aware of surroundings and the use of personal protective equipment.

Goodin Abernathy employee Fernanda Linares used to work in warehousing and identified several of these risks from her personal experience.  “Being suspended about 20 to 25 feet in the air while sometimes lifting heavy parts, there was much room for injury,” she says, “Because there were heavy parts that could crush your toes, it was required of the employees to wear steeled shoes while on the work floor.”.

Although workers could be taking all the safety precautions, warehouse workers still get hurt at the job sometimes. Goodin Abernathy LLP lawyers help clients regularly who have suffered an injury in the workplace.  We’re here to help understand the Indiana Worker’s Compensation benefits. Goodin Abernathy LLP lawyers, regularly help workers collect the benefits they are entitled to including payment for medical bills, lost wages from time off work, and compensation for permanent impairments.

If you or someone you know has been injured while working at a warehouse in Indiana, contact the lawyers at Goodin Abernathy LLP to discuss your options.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Too often I see clients come in with serious injuries after they have been struck by a vehicle carrying no or very limited liability insurance.  The first question I ask is how much Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM/UIM) they have through their own insurance carrier.  More often than not, I receive a blank stare in response.

What is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is coverage you purchase to protect yourself from uninsured or under-insured drivers.  If you are seriously injured in a car accident or by a motor vehicle, the wrongdoer may not have enough insurance coverage to adequately compensate you for your injuries.  The law requires, unless you specifically waive it, that UM/UIM coverage be a part of your car insurance policy.  This is excellent protection against those in our society who do not play by the rules or who have little to no assets to protect.  The best part though?  It’s cheap coverage!  For just a few dollars a year you can increase your UM/UIM coverage to help protect yourself on the roadways.

So talk to your insurance agent about UM/UIM coverage and make sure you have enough coverage to protect you if you are injured by a driver without adequate insurance.  If you have an umbrella policy, make sure it includes UM/UIM coverage, as well.

If you have been injured by a motor vehicle and have been told the wrongdoer has little or no insurance coverage, call our Indianapolis injury attorneys today to set up a free consultation and discuss making a UM/UIM claim.


*Image courtesy of Naypong at