History Of Defects With Werner Ladders
Consumer complaints against Werner became commonplace around 1997 when a recall was issued for the company’s Space Master sliding attic ladder. These complaints have continued until today. The company’s attic ladders frequently collapse under weights far below the 300-pound maximum. A quick search on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s database (Saferproducts.gov) reveals at least 100 complaints about Werner ladders since August 2011, including attic ladders, step ladders, and other products:
- In July 2017, a 63-year-old Virginia homeowner was injured when her Werner Steel Attic Ladder Model S2210, Mk3 suddenly snapped while she was climbing it to access the attic. The steel connectors broke without any warning that they were defective. This ladder was purchased at Lowes and installed in 2005, with no issues prior to this incident. The homeowner suffered injuries to her foot, calf, elbow, and head in the accident.
- In July 2016, a 59-year-old woman was using a Werner 6Ft Type II Fiberglass Stepladder to build an outdoor metal shed, when the stepladder’s metal frame buckled and cause the woman to fall. She suffered three broken ribs in the accident and had to take an ambulance to the emergency room.
- In May 2012, a consumer filed a report after their 62-year-old mother was injured when the left bottom hinge of her attic ladder broke while she was climbing it. This woman weighed only 141 pounds and suffered a sprained ankle and bruised shoulder and elbow.
These are just a few examples of the dozens of consumer complaints filed against Werner. If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a similar accident, you should consider filing a report with www.saferproducts.gov and speaking with an experienced product liability lawyer about your legal options.
Space Master Attic Ladders Recalled In 1997
Werner’s Space Master sliding attic ladders were recalled in 1997 because of a manufacturing defect. These attic ladders were meant to be folded up into the ceiling for storage when they weren’t in use. The ladder was designed to be held in place by a metal hook, but in some units, the hook was installed backwards by mistake. This meant the ladder could easily fall and strike anyone standing or walking below.
Customers who had already purchased this ladder were issued instructions for how to inspect and repair a defective ladder, but no refund or financial compensation if they’d already been injured by it. Unfortunately, these companies too often fail to show concern for the customers who have been injured by their products.
Class Action Lawsuit
In 2013, a man named Lloyd Clemens acted as the “representative plaintiff” in a class action lawsuit against Werner for a defective design in the Steel Easy Access Ladder, which was never recalled despite being the subject of up to 80 complaints per month. As a representative plaintiff, Clemens represented thousands of other consumers who had been injured by Werner products.
Werner and Lowe’s (the exclusive retailer for the ladders) were named in the lawsuit and denied responsibility, but eventually reached a settlement with Clemens. However, only Clemens received financial compensation in the lawsuit. The other class members of the lawsuit only received a free replacement ladder, but no compensation for any other damages.
How Has Werner Handled Customer Complaints?
One common theme in the customer complaints filed with the CPSC is Werner’s refusal to acknowledge the defect or provide any form of support for the people who have been injured by their products. The Steel Easy Access Attic Ladder was manufactured between 2003-2008, and despite complaints still coming in nearly a decade after the product was discontinued, the company still hasn’t even issued a recall. This means countless owners of this line of ladders are at risk of suffering a debilitating injury or even death if the ladder collapses due to faulty hinges.
As one consumer noted after his steel attic ladder collapsed, “This failure has been reported by numerous people online. Werner has refused to acknowledge that the hinge was faulty or that the design potentially poses a risk to users.”
Can I Sue After Falling From A Defective Ladder?
Fortunately, victims of defective product injuries have legal options when the company fails to take responsibility. A personal injury lawsuit for a defective product can help hold these negligent companies liable for the injuries their consumers have suffered due to construction or design defects. While the class action lawsuit filed in 2013 did result in a settlement, in most cases, individual lawsuits are the better option for securing financial compensation. A successful lawsuit can provide financial support for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and a variety of other damages.
There is no excuse for a defective product continuing to stay on the market long after the knowledge of the defect has become well-known. Taking legal action is the best way to demand accountability from these large companies and to improve product safety in general so that others don’t have to suffer unnecessary injuries due to defects.