Deck and Balcony Accidents Can Lead to Serious Injuries
Decks and balconies can add value to your property and create a space that is perfect for entertaining friends and family. However, when these structures are not constructed or maintained properly, they can be dangerous – causing serious accidents and devastating injuries.
Causes of Deck and Balcony Accidents
Deck and balcony accidents are generally caused because of a problem with construction that compromises the structure and causes it to collapse. One common construction deficiency occurs when lag screws and bolts not properly attached to the ledger board of the deck – which is designed to keep the deck attached to the home. In addition, when nails are used on a deck’s ledger, it is easy for the deck to collapse because nails can easily be pulled out of the structure.In San Francisco, people are frequently injured on balconies when the railings or other support elements have deteriorated. Wood rot and termites can quickly destroy the strength of a structure. If these structures have not been properly maintained, an individual could be seriously hurt in a deck or balcony accident. The recent balcony accident in Berkeley shows just how dangerous this issue can be.
Injuries Caused By Deck and Balcony Collapses
Deck and balcony accidents can be especially dangerous because these structures are built so far from the ground. As a result, these elevated falls can result in serious back and spinal cord injuries that can leave victims paralyzed. In addition, deck and balcony accidents may cause serious head injuries that may create damage to the victim’s brain function. In the most severe cases, these accidents can be fatal.
Preventing Deck and Balcony Collapses
In order to prevent deck accidents, the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) suggests:
- Finding reputable contractors that will not cut corners when building the structure: In order to find a quality builder, ask friends or family members for recommendations or find contractors through the NADRA
- Keeping a watchful eye on older decks, especially those that are held together with nails: The association reports that there are over 40 million decks in the United States that are at least 20 years old. As a result of years of wear and tear, these compromised structures cause hundreds of accidents each year
- Having your deck inspected regularly: Things that inspectors generally look at include the condition of the deck’s boards, foundation, beams, hand rails, metal fasteners and ledger connections.
Landlords and property owners are responsible for maintaining these structures. When someone is hurt as a result of falling from a deck, balcony or broken railing, people may pursue a premises liability claim against the landlord or property owner for their negligence.
If You Have Been Injured in a Deck Accident
If you have been injured because of an unsafe deck, the owner of the property may be held responsible for paying your medical bills, as well as wages that you have lost as you go through your recovery. Consult an experienced personal injury attorney to find out what your rights are and what steps need to be taken to file a lawsuit. In addition, if you have lost a loved one in one of these accidents, you may be able to sue the property owner for wrongful death.