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Orange County Man Dies in On-the Job Ladder Accident


Mike Willis, a 51-year-old man and a resident of Orange died of severe head injuries in an on-the-job accident at the Budget Inn in Whittier, The Orange County Register reports.

The accident happened at the Budget Inn at 14030 Whittier Blvd as Willis was changing bulbs on a motel sign and the hydraulic ladder he was using collapsed. Apparently, when the ladder was retracting, a cable snapped and the part of the ladder Willis was standing on began to crash down. Officer Jason Zuhlke of the Whittier Police Department said Willis plummeted 40 feet and landed head-first on to a concrete surface, suffering fatal head injuries. Willis, who was on the job for his employer, A & M Signs and Lighting, was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

This tragic ladder accident reminds us again about how dangerous working on a ladder can be. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that close to 100,000 people get into ladder accidents and are taken to the emergency room with injuries each year. Ladders can be dangerous in many ways. A ladder can slide, tip, slip or break. It could even catapult a climber. We’ve also seen many cases where a person on a ladder could get hit by passing vehicles. If a ladder is placed on a slippery or unstable surface, the risk of slipping and falling increases considerably.

Willis’ family would be well advised to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, who can help conduct a thorough investigation of this tragic accident and look into whether there was a failure on the part of his employer to provide adequate safety training. The family would also want the attorney to determine why the hydraulic ladder’s cable snapped. This could become a product liability lawsuit, if it is determined that the ladder had an inherent product or design defect. If the ladder is found to be defective, the ladder manufacturer could be held responsible for the victim’s fatal injuries.

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