Visitor Question

No safety ladder for unloading a truck?

Submitted By: Ramon (Tipton, CA)

I was at work early the morning I was injured. I do maintenance and put towels in restrooms, break rooms, etc. That morning I was getting towels out of a semitrailer and there was no safety ladder or lift on the side of the trailer, so we had to climb up holding onto the doors on the trailer.

I’ve been doing this for over a year now, and I always thought to myself that it was kind of dangerous, but I didn’t think anything of it. So that morning on my way down I slipped and fell on my side, hit the top of my head, and fractured my hand in 3 spots.

I’m wondering if I could file a lawsuit against the company for not having a proper safety ladder for the truck? Is there anything I can do? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Ramon,

You have two options…


You can file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. Because your injury was clearly sustained while you were performing  your normal and customary job duties, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier should pay all your medical, chiropractic, and therapeutic bills, your out-of-pocket expenses, and a majority of your lost wages while you were recovering and unable to work.

Because of workers’ compensation laws, insured employees are prohibited from suing their employers. There are exceptions based on proof of an employer’s gross negligence, or evidence of a willful or wanton disregard for an employee’s safety and well-being. Based on the facts you present, there doesn’t seem to be evidence of gross negligence or willful disregard for your safety.


Barring proof of the exceptions, you are prohibited from suing your employer for your on-the-job injuries. However,  you may have the basis of a negligence claim against the truck owner, whether the truck was owner by a private person or a corporation.

To succeed in a personal injury claim against the truck owner will require proof the truck owner failed to take proper precautions to assure those who were expected to climb up or down from the trailer would not be unduly harmed or injured.

Proving this will be difficult, but not impossible. If proof can be found that the truck owner had previous injury claims filed against him or her by persons who were injured while climbing up or down from the truck, then you might have sufficient basis to begin the pursuit of your claim.

Learn more here: Dangerous Work Equipment

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck!


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