Parker Scheer Attorneys have Successfully Represented Persons Seriously Injured as a Result of Collapsed Outdoor Decks or Balconies
Every year, adults and children in Massachusetts suffer catastrophic, even fatal injuries due to the collapse of wooden decks, balconies, and porches. The most common failures occur in decks and porches that are physically attached to older apartments or “multi-family” buildings. Decks that are attached to single-family homes also carry a risk of collapse and pose a serious risk of injury or death if left unmaintained and uninspected for evidence of rot, insect damage, or structural compromise. The risk of balcony or deck collapse is significantly higher where older structures are involved in large part because older decks were not constructed in accordance with modern building code regulations. More recent building code regulations have been enacted to help minimize the risk of collapse and to provide better structural integrity. The kinds of injuries often seen following deck collapse include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (“TBI”)
- Bone and skull fractures
- Severe back injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Torn rotator cuffs
- Fractured limbs
- Severe lacerations caused by rusted nails and wooden splinters
- Severe knee and ankle injuries
In many cases, these injuries have resulted in life-long pain and physical limitations and require expensive surgeries and extensive rehabilitation.
For more than twenty-five years, the attorneys at Parker Scheer have successfully represented those who’ve suffered deck and balcony collapse injuries. Determining who is at fault for a collapsed decks and porches can be complicated. Under Massachusetts law, the owner of the porch or deck has a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, free of defects and conditions likely to cause injuries or death if left uncorrected. The property owner is further required to conduct regular inspections to identify signs of rot, structural damage, pest infestation, or other defects which could result in collapse or other catastrophic failures.
Another common cause of porch and deck collapse includes the decay of wooden support timbers caused by excessive moisture, wood-boring insects, rusted nails, and metal fasteners resulting from prolonged exposure to harsh New England weather; and errors in structural design, fabrication, or construction.
Wooden porch or deck collapse can also occur where an owner has allowed an excessive weight to be placed on the structure, such as a hot tub, heavy outdoor furnishings, or appliances, which may exceed the load capacity of the porch or deck. The over-loading of guests on an already compromised porch or deck is another common cause of deck collapse.
Who Is Responsible for a Porch Deck Collapse?
In most cases, the property owner is responsible for the collapse of a porch or deck. Under Massachusetts law, property owners and occupiers have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe and free of known hazards. If a deck or porch is not structurally sound due to rot, insect damage, or for any other reason, then the property owner may be held responsible.
Depending on the situation, others may be liable for a balcony, porch, or deck collapse. This may include a landlord if the property is a rental, contractors and/or builders if they failed to build the structure safely, or even an inspection company that did not note damage or warn the homeowners. A skilled Boston balcony collapse attorney can evaluate your case during a free initial consultation, and advise you of the possibility of filing a claim against one or more parties for your injuries.
I Was Hurt in a Balcony Collapse. What Kind of Damages Can I Get?
If you have been injured when the balcony, deck or porch that you were standing on collapsed, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and losses (referred to as “damages”). In most cases, you will be limited to compensatory damages, as punitive damages, with a few exceptions, are rarely awarded in Massachusetts. Common compensatory awards may cover losses such as:
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
To learn more about the nature and extent of the compensation to which you may be entitled, schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney in Boston.
What Are Some Common Causes of Balcony Collapses?
According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 20,200 people are injured each year due to the structural failure or collapse of a deck or porch.
There are a number of reasons why decks, balconies, or porches may fail. Most often, porch and deck failures are caused by:
- Construction defects
- Water damage
- Dry rot
- Insect damage
- Failure to routinely inspect
If you or someone close to you has been injured in this type of structural failure, reach out to a balcony collapse attorney to schedule a free consultation.
Find out if you have a Porch, Deck or Balcony Collapse Injury Case
If you or someone close to you has suffered a serious injury or death as a result of a collapsed deck or porch, contact us to arrange a free consultation with one of our highly experienced deck collapse lawyers. There is never a charge to discuss your case and all information is maintained in strict confidence.