Countless people are injured each year in accidents caused by collapsing decks, balconies, and porches. These injuries can range from bruises, sprains, and broken bones to serious head trauma, internal organ damage, paralysis, or even death.
If you or a loved one was injured in a porch accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A porch, balcony, and deck collapse lawyer in Pittsburgh at Berger and Green can help you with your case: 412-661-1400.
What causes porch, balcony, and deck collapses?
A number of factors can contribute to a porch, balcony, or deck collapse. Many people associate these collapses with older apartment buildings, but in certain situations, collapses can happen with brand new homes.
Too much weight: Collapses can occur when there is excessive weight on the porch. This could mean too many people, heavy furniture or appliances, or even snow and ice accumulation on the porch.
Deterioration of Materials: Collapses often occur when the wood of a porch, balcony, or deck begins to rot. Other materials, such as nails and metal fasteners, may begin to rust and thus, lose stability.
Age of the Porch: Not only are older porches and balconies at risk for rusting and dry rotting, but structures built decades ago may not have been subject to modern day building codes. As such, these older porches and balconies may not be as safe as you might think.
Lack of Proper Safety Inspections: Whether completed negligently or not at all, safety inspections that fail to note dangerous conditions in porches, balconies, and decks can result in serious accidents and injuries.
Improper Deck Design and Construction: One of the most common types of deck collapses occurs when the deck pulls away from the house. This failure happens when the builder does not properly attach the “ledger board” to the structure.
Other improper design includes railings that do not support sufficient weight and failure of the weight supporting posts and joists.
Who is liable for a collapse?
Several people may be liable if your porch collapses. If you are visiting a friend’s house or a public location such as a restaurant or bar and you suffer injuries in a porch collapse, the owner of the premises will likely be at fault for your injuries. Additional third parties, such as maintenance or constructions companies may also be secondarily liable.
Note: Even if it is your friend’s porch, she will likely not be paying for your injuries; her homeowner’s insurance should pay for any of your injuries.
If your injury occurs at home and you are not the original owner or builder, you might need to track down either of those parties.
A repair man or maintenance company that completed work on your porch, balcony, or deck could also be responsible.
If you rent your home or apartment, your landlord will likely be at fault for any injuries or property damage resulting from a porch collapse.
If a city or private safety inspector fails to alert you to structural issues, that inspector could be liable for the resulting collapse as well.
Determining liability and proving fault in a deck collapse accident can be very difficult. Liability depends on how the accident occurred as well as who was responsible for that aspect of the case. It can become even more complicated if you or the property owner is not the original owner of the property.
The attorneys at Berger and Green will launch an investigation into the collapse and find any and all parties liable for your injuries.
How do I prove negligence?
In order to prove fault, you will need to establish that the property owner, manager, or construction company knew or should have known that the porch was currently in an unsafe condition but failed to repair it. Whether the property owner is a business or a landlord, they have a duty to keep guests safe while on the premises. If you can prove the defendant acted negligently by failing to keep the porch in a safe condition then you may be able to recover compensation for your measurable injuries.
There are several pieces of evidence that you will want to collect before filing a lawsuit.
First, you must visit a doctor and collect a copy of your medical records. These records will serve as legal proof of your injuries and will provide a baseline for your damages.
You will also want to collect testimony and/or contact information from any eyewitnesses that can speak about the collapse.
Take photographs of the resulting structure, especially the areas that failed or broke during the collapse. If possible, collect surveillance video footage from businesses or traffic cameras.
You should also collect a record of safety inspections completed from the homeowner.
Recovering this evidence can be difficult for the average person. The team at Berger and Green can help you investigate the collapse and help you build your case.
What can I recover?
If you were injured in a porch collapse in Pittsburgh, you may be able to bring a claim or lawsuit for damages. Typically, you will be able to recover compensation for your:
- Medical expenses, including doctor’s bills, medication, physical therapy, transportation costs, etc.
- Damage to your property
- Lost wages from time off work while you are healing
- Lost earning capacity
- Any home or vehicle renovations you made to accommodate your injury/disability
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Call the Porch Collapse Lawyers in Pittsburgh for Help
You deserve compensation for your injuries after a porch collapse, but it can be exceedingly difficult to recover this compensation alone. Contact the porch, balcony, and deck collapse lawyers at Berger and Green in Pittsburgh today for help. We will manage your case and fight to get you the most compensation possible for your injuries as quickly as possible.
Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation at 412-661-1400.