Miami Balcony Collapse Attorneys Discuss Legal Duties of Property Owners
Many people were shocked last year when six people died, and seven more suffered serious injury after a fourth-floor balcony collapsed during a party at an apartment building near the University of California at Berkeley. While the incident was tragic, it was far from unprecedented. 57 people suffered injury, and 13 people died when a third-floor porch collapsed in Chicago in 2003. These are just two of many such incidents that have caused injuries and fatalities over the years. In this blog, our Miami premises liability attorneys discuss the types of negligent conduct by property owners that contribute to balcony collapse accidents.
In Florida, owners of commercial and residential property have a legal duty to maintain their property in a way that minimizes the risk of injury to visitors. When the owner of a business or residence fails to pay attention to the number of people or weight load on a deck or balcony, the consequences can be broken bones, catastrophic injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and fatalities. If you have been injured in a patio, balcony, or deck collapse, you should speak with a Miami personal injury law attorney with experience handling premises liability and balcony collapse claims who can protect your interests and pursue the fullest financial recovery.
Causes of Balcony, Deck, and Patio Collapse Accidents
Faulty Design and Construction
When a structure like a balcony or a deck is not properly designed, or substandard materials are used in the construction, the structure might lack the strength needed to safely accommodate guests. The entity or owner that built the balcony might not have complied with building codes or safety regulations. These violations might constitute the basis for imposing liability if the non-compliance contributed to the accident. Sometimes the party that builds a balcony or deck might attempt to cut costs despite the risk to the public. For example, the builder or property owner that installed the deck might have used wood that was not inspected for termite infestation or rot.
Failure to Monitor Weight Load
Many owners of private residences and businesses like hotels and restaurants will host events and parties on balconies or decks. These structures will have a certain threshold of weight bearing capacity that the property owner must monitor. When guests are allowed to flood a balcony or porch in unlimited number because of a lack of attention, a collapse might occur.
Improper Attachment of Deck or Porch
The design, engineering, and construction of the porch must be calculated to ensure the structure is properly secured to the building. If this junction is not sufficiently strong, the porch can pull away from the main structure.
Lack of Maintenance
Even if a balcony is designed and constructed so that it is reasonably safe, failure to engage in proper maintenance practices can compromise the strength of the balcony. Moisture from rain and snow can cause deterioration of the materials making the flooring of the balcony soft and rotting the underlying lumber used for the frame. Termite infestations also can compromise the durability of the structure. Finally, the railing that provides a barrier to prevent people from falling can become detached without proper maintenance creating a false sense of security for those on the balcony.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a collapsing balcony, porch, or deck, our Miami porch collapse lawyers tenaciously pursue the fullest financial recovery for our clients. Our lawyers have over 80 years of collective experience exclusively representing personal injury and wrongful death victims. We offer a free case evaluation, so we invite you to call Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. today toll-free at (877) 475-2905 or email us to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation.
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