Slips, trips, and falls happen for many reasons in many places. They often occur in nursing homes, at construction sites, and on the properties of commercial and nonprofit businesses. One common cause of falls are ramps that are not in good condition. There’s no excuse for the business or organizations to fail to inspect their ramps and to respond to complaints the ramps aren’t stable.
There are more types of ramps than you think
A ramp is a ramp, right? They’re all inclines that take people from one level to another level, without the need to climb stairs, use ladders, or use other devices. But the truth is that different ramps serve different purposes, and are built differently as a result:
- ADA compliant ramps. These ramps allow people with a wheelchair to gain access to a building, to an office, or to any location. These ramps must be able to support the person in the wheelchair and the wheelchair itself. Sometimes they’re made of concrete, like steps; other times, they are made of metal or wood. The ramps, when initially installed, may need to comply with local building codes and federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Construction site ramps. These are often temporary ramps that let workers carry equipment and materials. Construction ramps may also be used by small vehicles. These must be designed to bear weight, but they’re not necessarily rooted into he ground.
- Trucking site ramps. Most loading docks have ramps for loading, unloading, and moving all types of inventory and cargo. Sometimes they’re attached to the truck (like they are with U-Haul trucks) and sometimes they’re removable.
Some of the many businesses that often use ramps include:
What makes a ramp dangerous or unsafe?
Ramps can be dangerous for many other reasons, including:
- Poor lighting on/near the ramp
- Dangerously steep inclines
- Lack of handrails/ damaged or unsecured handrails
- Lack of friction strips or materials that reduce the likelihood of slipping
- Failure of the property owner to clean off wet ramps or ramps with ice and snow
Ramps should be routinely inspected by the property owner. If the owner has actual knowledge of complaints about the ramp, the property owner should take immediate action to repair the ramp.
If the ramps can’t be repaired in a timely manner, the property owner should warn customers that the ramps are dangerous. Better still, the property owner should take the ramps out of service until repairs can be made.
Falls from ramps can cause serious harm including:
- Head trauma
- Fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Muscle, ligament, tissue, and never damages
- Cuts and bruises
- Shattered teeth
- Internal injuries
At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver, WA premises liability lawyers have 20 years’ experience negotiating and trying ramp injury and other personal injury cases. We’ve obtained settlements and verdicts in over 2,000 cases. We work with engineers and other building professionals to help verity liability. We’ll work with your doctors to fully show adjusters or juries just how life-changing your injuries are. To discuss your injury case, please call our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA. You can reach us at 360-695-3309 or fill out our contact form. We represent personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.