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If you or someone in your family has been injured because of a collapsing balcony, you may be eligible to file a premises liability lawsuit to help you recover compensation. A balcony collapse defect lawyer can help you to review all the circumstances of the accident and determine your legal rights to recover compensation.
A collapsing balcony occurs suddenly, leaving people on or under the balcony with little or no opportunity to get out of harm’s way. This can lead to substantial or even life-threatening injuries, such as paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and—in worst cases—even death.
If a property owner's negligence caused the balcony to collapse, that person could be responsible for compensating the victims for their injuries and damages suffered. Contact Morgan & Morgan, America’s largest personal injury law firm, for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your legal options.
What to Do If You're Hurt in a Balcony Collapse Accident
Immediately after a balcony accident, it is strongly recommended that you get medical attention.
Many victims fail to act when they’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence. The shock of living through a balcony collapse may mean that you forget about the possibility of recovering compensation. Plus, some of the injuries associated with the balcony collapse may not appear immediately, leading you to think that you are fine. It is strongly recommended that you get medical attention after any balcony collapse, regardless of how you feel, since some injuries such as internal bleeding or even a traumatic brain injury may not exhibit symptoms immediately. Identifying any possible health concerns can put you on a path to recovery and can also make it easier to file a premises liability claim if you were hurt because of someone else's negligent actions.
The road to recovery may be a long one after a balcony collapse if you are lucky enough to survive, but there are other legal issues that must be addressed to protect you, too. A lawyer who specializes in balcony collapse injuries can help guide you through what can be a very complicated legal process.
A lawyer is a vital component for filing a premises liability claim, especially since it can be extremely tricky to negotiate these settlements on your own or try to come to an agreement outside the legal system. In some cases, if you were hurt on a person's property where you know that person closely, they may be concerned about liability issues or exceeding their homeowners insurance coverage. Your desire to limit possible problems in this relationship could block you from recovering the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.
Working with an outside premises liability attorney can at least give you an overview of all the legal aspects involved and the best way to proceed so that you can both protect yourself and ensure that you understand all your rights and responsibilities under state law.
During the period of your recovery, keep track of all details related to the incident. This includes a tally of your lost time at work, a journal of how the accident and its resulting injuries have affected your life, medical bills and medical records, and other expenses related to your accident recovery. You may be surprised at how quickly these can add up after a balcony collapse accident, and you may need this information to file a premises liability lawsuit against a responsible party. Especially if you are not able to go back to work right away or have such severe injuries that the course of your daily life is significantly changed, you need to be prepared for knowing how to respond.
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What Are the Leading Causes of Balcony Collapses?
Property managers and property owners have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that their property is safe for guests. This includes keeping balconies, decks, porches, and other areas on their premises in a safe and sturdy condition. Many balcony collapses that happen could be prevented by following weight restrictions and building code rules, performing ongoing maintenance, and having routine inspections.
One of the leading reasons that a balcony collapses is too much weight. Porches, decks, and balconies are all designed to support a maximum amount of weight. If an owner or property manager doesn't understand these restrictions or doesn’t limit the number of individuals standing on the balcony, a guest or multiple guests may be injured.
Other leading reasons for balcony collapses include rotted or worn materials like old wood or rusted screws, design or structural problems, inadequate railings or supports, or a defective foundation.
Are Owners Legally Responsible for Balcony Collapses?
Premises liability law in most states claims that owners and managers of property must exercise reasonable care to repair dangerous conditions, maintain the property, routinely inspect the balcony, or provide appropriate warnings about dangerous conditions.
When a balcony or deck collapses and causes someone to suffer injuries, this may be the result of a failure to take reasonable care on the owner's part. A premises liability lawsuit may be appropriate when an owner of a property fails to build or care for a balcony, the balcony collapses as a result, and a person suffers injuries.
Many balcony collapse accidents happen at the homes of friends for families. It may be difficult for you to consider filing a lawsuit against someone because of a balcony collapse on their property, but most homeowners insurance policies will be able to pay you the compensation you deserve if you find yourself dealing with these circumstances.
Recovering compensation by filing a balcony collapse lawsuit may be your only opportunity to pay your medical bills and to move forward with your life. Although it can be challenging to think about these necessary action steps in the midst of trying to get medical treatment for your injuries, it is extremely important to find a law firm with the right experience and resources to help you.
What Are Construction Defects?
It is not always the case that a balcony collapse is a result of improper maintenance or repair. The construction itself may be called into question as your balcony collapse lawyer looks into the situation.
When a deck or balcony is not constructed well to begin with, it can collapse, causing life-threatening injuries. Both balconies and decks are typically supported by cantilevers that are fixed at only one end and are made up of a long projecting girder or beam. Anytime a cantilever fails, the structure cannot support the weight on top of it, leading to a collapse.
There are many other construction issues that could contribute to a balcony collapse, such as the use of the wrong nails or screws, failure of the balcony base material, improper beam securing to the structure itself, improper attachment to an office, house, or apartment building, poor quality of metal, wood, or other construction materials, or potential building code violations.
What Other Issues Can Contribute to a Balcony Collapse?
Beyond construction defects, other possible factors can contribute to a balcony collapse. Water damage is one example of another issue that may not be detected easily. Water can cause both rot and dry rot, which can weaken the underlying strength of boards. Metal can also rust because of significant water damage. Water damage can also weaken the beams that support balconies.
Collapse is nearly inevitable without the necessary support. A lack of routine inspections can let these unseen issues continue to worsen. Ongoing inspections are necessary to ensure that a structure is safe and that it is holding up well based on its current location and weight restrictions. Whether this is at a business or a person's private residence, the owner of a balcony may be responsible for the safety of others on the deck.
Get Help After a Balcony Collapse
Deck and balcony collapses have caused thousands of injuries and numerous deaths throughout the country. While these kinds of incidents and injuries do not occur as commonly as things like car accidents, they still have far-reaching consequences.
At Morgan & Morgan, we don’t take these situations lightly. For over 35 years, we have fought for personal injury victims who have had their lives altered due to the carelessness of a negligent person. We have recovered over $15 billion for our clients, and we may be able to help you, too.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your legal options.