How Wheelchair Ramps Can Be Dangerous
Many people in Louisville rely on wheelchair ramps for accessing buildings. Wheelchair ramps are useful in making buildings more accessible to everyone whether they are using a wheelchair, walker, or stroller. In the United States, an estimated 2 million people require the use of wheelchairs. Most of the time, wheelchair ramps help people access a building safely. However, there may be instances when they prove to be dangerous.
Hazards Involved in Wheelchair Ramps
Any change in a wheelchair ramp’s elevation, incline, or surface has the potential to make it dangerous. However, certain ramps are more hazardous than others because of design flaws, poor construction, or inadequate maintenance.
These are a few common oversights or errors that can cause a ramp to become dangerous:
1. Degree of incline
The degree of incline is the most important aspect. Steep ramps become dangerous because they are not easy to climb. They also pose the risk of tipping the chair backward. A ramp is safer and easier to use when its incline is lower. The maximum acceptable incline for a wheelchair ramp is an inch of rising for every 12 inches of length. Further, the ramp should not rise more than 6 inches off the surface of the ground.
2. Level landings
The top of the ramp should have a level landing. This is where the ramp meets the ground. This can be an existing surface, such as a sidewalk or a porch. Or it can also be constructed when the ramp is being built. Landings should be at least 60 inches long and the same width as the ramp. These measurements are required for accommodating an entire wheelchair. Landings that are in front of a doorway should provide enough space for opening the door.
3. Transition from the ramp to the landing
In general, wheelchair ramps that don’t have a gradual transition between the landing and the ramp are unsafe. The weight of a wheelchair is usually on its rear wheels. However, when the wheelchair climbs a ramp, the weight is transitioned to the front caster wheels. The wheelchair may come to a sudden stop when the front wheels hit the landing. This can cause the wheelchair to fly forward. Without proper transition from the ramp to the landing, injuries may occur.
4. Slippery surface
Access ramps should have a non-skid surface regardless of where it is located. The surface of an outdoor ramp needs to be constructed in such a way that water doesn’t accumulate on it. Water accumulation on landings should be kept in mind while constructing and designing the ramp.
5. Weight specifications
There are different wheelchair ramps designed for occupied, unoccupied, manual, and electric wheelchairs. It’s critical that the ramps clearly mention the weight specifications. Without this, they can be dangerous to unassuming people.
All public ramps are required to have handrails. Without handrails, a wheelchair ramp can become particularly dangerous. Many wheelchair users are not able to push themselves up a ramp. They require handrails for support and additional strength to pull themselves up.
Wheelchair users can hold onto handrails anytime they feel unsteady or tired. Care needs to be taken that the handrail doesn’t have splinters if they are made of wood. This can prove to be dangerous as a splinter may cause the wheelchair user to remove their hands from the handrail in a jerky movement.
Seeking Compensation After a Wheelchair Ramp Accident
Wheelchair injuries can occur anywhere. However, they are more common when on wheelchair ramps. The wheelchair user doesn’t always need to be blamed for the wheelchair accident. It could happen that a healthcare provider was pushing them and failed to observe proper wheelchair safety. Wheelchair ramp injuries are not just limited to the elderly.
People of all ages can suffer wheelchair ramp accidents. You may want to consider speaking with a premises liability attorney if you or a loved one was injured on a wheelchair ramp. A bad fall may result in a head injury, broken bones, or some other serious injury. This can eventually lead to unexpected medical expenses.
You can attain a better understanding of what caused your accident by having an attorney investigate it. Your lawyer can also help you understand your legal rights and all available legal options. You may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, other tangible damages, and pain and suffering.
It is important that you consider speaking to an attorney sooner than later. This is because Kentucky follows a strict statute of limitation rule. You may be too late in filing a lawsuit if the deadline for statute of limitation runs out.
Legal Help is Here from a Competent Premise Liability Attorney
The legal team at John H. Ruby & Associates can help you if you or a loved one sustained a serious injury because of a dangerous wheelchair ramp. We have the knowledge and resources required to investigate the accident and find all possible causes for the injury. We are prepared to aggressively fight for compensation to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 502-895-2626 or fill out this online form.