A fun pastime for many people when the weather is warm, and even when it is not, is to visit with family and friends on a deck, balcony, or porch. This can involve just sitting around talking or enjoying good food at a barbecue. However, an enjoyable time can quickly turn into a nightmare if the deck, balcony, or porch collapses. Especially if people fall from heights, they can suffer devastating injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, broken bones, and death. If the property owner’s negligence caused the collapse, he could be responsible for compensating the victims for their injuries.
Five Causes of Deck, Balcony, and Porch Collapses
Homeowners, property owners, and property managers have a duty to take reasonable care to be certain that the property is safe for guests. This includes keeping decks, balconies, and porches in a safe condition. Sadly many of the reasons that these accidents occur could be prevented by regular inspections, maintenance, and following building code and weight restriction rules for the structures. Common reasons decks, balconies, and porches collapse include:
- Too much weight. Porches, balconies, and decks are designed to support a certain amount of weight. When owners do not understand these restrictions or fail to limit the number of people on the structure, they could be negligent if a guest is injured.
- Structural or design problems. If the structure or design is defective, the balcony, deck, or porch will be unsafe even if the owner follows the weight restrictions for it. Additional parties could face liability if this is the cause of a deck or porch collapse.
- Worn materials. When wood is rotted, nails and screws are rusted, or other materials are deteriorating, they need to be repaired or replaced. Regular inspections and maintenance of these structures is essential given the wear and tear they suffer from being exposed to varying weather conditions.
- Inadequate supports or railings. A basic safety requirement for any balcony, porch, or deck is to have a proper support system. In addition, if there is no railing on stairs or the railing is loose or defective, an unsuspecting victim can easily injure himself in a fall.
- Defective foundation. A foundation that complies with all building code requirements is essential to the safety of any building. If there are defects in the foundation or building code violations, a porch, deck, or balcony collapse could be the likely consequence.
Many of these accidents occur at the homes of family and friends. If you were a victim of one of these tragedies, you may be reluctant to pursue a claim against a friend or family member. However, you need to remember that if this person is a property owner, he will have a homeowner’s insurance policy to pay you the compensation you deserve. That is what this insurance is there for, and most likely your friend or family member will not be paying you anything themselves.
If you were hurt in one of these accidents or another slip and fall accident, call Jones Wilson Injury Lawyers at 866-299-0558 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.