Douglasville Deck Collapse Lawyer
We have all seen the videos – a group of people standing on a deck or balcony taking a photo and the deck collapses. A lot of these videos go viral and become the source of jokes, television shows, and “fails”. While sometimes an event like this can be humorous, they can also be extremely dangerous. Deck and balcony collapses cause serious injuries and deaths every year in the United States.
Here in Metro Atlanta, one of the biggest selling points in real estate is a great deck or patio area. In urban areas and in high rises, decks are a necessity for outdoor space. In more suburban communities, decks are a place where friends and family gather and enjoy some peace and quiet outside the city.
At The Embry Law Firm, we know that deck collapse accidents are no laughing matter. These accidents may not be as common as auto accidents, but they cause significant injuries and loss of life. Deck collapse accidents are governed by premises liability laws, so anyone in Metro Atlanta who has been injured in a deck collapse should contact our Douglasville deck collapse lawyer to find out more about their legal rights.
How Common are Deck Collapse Accidents?
It is estimated that more than 40 million decks exist across the U.S. These decks range in size and shape, and are maintained at different levels. With such a large number of decks, it may not be surprising that deck collapse accidents are much more common than people think. And because they often occur when numerous people are on the deck, the injury toll is often higher.
According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), between 2003 and 2007 there were 224,000 injuries related to deck or porch accidents. Around 15 percent of those injuries – or 33,000 injuries - were the direct result of a deck collapse. The CPSC estimated that more than 18,000 injuries could be classified as “serious”, meaning that the injuries included major fractures, head trauma, concussion, spinal injuries, or paralysis. The CPSC also reported that several deaths resulted from deck collapses during that period.
Injuries Caused by Deck Collapses
As noted previously, when decks collapse, there are a variety of factors that can increase the risk and severity of injuries. Injuries may be caused by the fall itself, contact with materials, or contact with other people. The injuries most commonly reported in deck collapse accidents include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Cuts and contusions
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Muscle, ligament, or tendon tears
Any of these injuries, or a combination thereof can be devastating to the victims and their loved ones. Many of these injuries require ongoing medical care, therapy, or surgery. Some injuries may also result in permanent disability.
Common Causes of Deck Collapse Accidents
There are several causes for deck collapse accidents, and even more variables that may impact why these accidents occur. Though many factors can contribute to a deck collapse, the vast majority (as many as 90 percent) of deck collapses are caused by the deck separating from the structure and ledger board holding it in place.
This separation may be caused by one or more of many factors. Some of the most common causes of deck collapse accidents include:
- Substandard workmanship and building
- Failing to follow federal safety standards when building
- Using defective materials
- Negligent construction
- Failure to have the deck inspected after building
- Failure of property owners to have the deck inspected or properly
No matter how high they sit off the ground, decks must be built properly and safely, and must be attached to the structure (house, etc.) within certain standards. Home builders are required to have decks inspected prior to completion of the property. Homeowners do not have strict requirements for inspections, but are urged to maintain their decks and keep them up to code.
Deck Collapse and Premises Liability Law
In Georgia, any property owner with a deck on their property is responsible for ensuring that it is properly built and maintained. Many deck collapses occur due to improper maintenance or poor building. Injuries that occur as a result of these causes may be grounds for a premises liability claim. In order for a deck collapse accident to qualify for a premises liability claim, you must prove the following:
- That the property owner had a duty of care in maintaining the structure
- That the property owner breached that duty
- That the breach was the cause of your injuries
- That your injuries resulted in financial or other losses
If you can prove these elements and establish that the person in control of the property failed to maintain it, or warn you of a defect or danger, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries under a premises liability claim.
Douglasville Deck Collapse Lawyer Offers Guidance
If you or someone you love has been injured in a deck collapse accident, contact The Embry Law Firm to find out if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim. Schedule a free consultation with our Douglasville personal injury lawyer to explore your legal rights and get the guidance you deserve.