Belleville Deck Collapse Lawyer
Experienced Metro East Premises Liability Attorneys at Your Service
In April 2018, in O’Fallon, Illinois, a deck collapsed at a home while about 15 people were standing on it. Six people sustained injuries, including one person left in critical condition. From 2003 to 2015, an estimated 6,500 people throughout the United States were rushed to emergency rooms with injuries from collapsing balconies and porches, while 29 were killed.
The last thing you expect when at a gathering or while relaxing on a deck is for the whole thing to come crashing down. Unfortunately, it does happen. If you have been injured by a deck collapse, you may be wondering how this could happen. We’re here to tell you that someone else may be liable for your injuries and losses, and Hipskind & McAninch, LLC, wants to help you find out. Give our Belleville premises liability lawyers a call at (618) 230-3069 to set up a free consultation with no time limit.
How Do Deck Collapses Happen?
In the O’Fallon deck collapse, the deck was believed to be 26 years old. A local deck builder theorized that the deck collapsed due to a mechanical failure where the deck attached to the home, either at the bolts or the fasteners. These fixtures can rust over time.
Potential other deck collapse causes include:
- Dry rot: Since deck supports are often made of wood, they are susceptible to dry rot. Dry rot decays wood, causing it to fall apart or even turn to powder. Dry rot can be prevented with proper design, construction, and maintenance aimed at sealing out water.
- Ledger board failure: Most decks are attached to houses via a ledger board, and older ledger boards are sometimes attached to the wall of a house with only nails. A failure here can bring the whole deck down.
- Foundation failures: Especially for tall decks, foundation supports should be installed to support the deck’s weight. When they are not, a strong wind could rip the ledger from the home.
All of the causes of deck collapses can be significantly affected by the deck’s age. It is generally the building owner’s responsibility to have the deck repaired as it ages.
Who Is Liable When a Deck Collapses?
Liability for a deck collapse can get complicated. Potentially liable parties can range from the property owner, the property renter, the contractor who built or installed the deck, the manufacturer and/or supplier of the deck and its materials, and/or the local government.
Determining liability depends on the circumstances of the deck collapse, and multiple parties may be considered liable. If the deck was improperly installed, the contractor would most likely be considered liable, and maybe the building inspector would be liable as well for not catching the danger. However, if the deck was built and installed properly, liability may fall to the property owner for failing to maintain the deck. If the property owner did hire a contractor or company to maintain the deck, they could be liable.
Like most personal injury cases, negligence plays an important role in a deck collapse case. For example, the average person would expect a building manager to prohibit 75 people from standing on a small deck at the same time. Not taking reasonable action to prevent injury to others can easily be considered negligence, and make that manager liable to everyone who was injured.
Contact the Deck Collapse Lawyers at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC
If you have been a victim of a deck collapse, the most important call you make may be to a personal injury attorney.
At Hipskind & McAninch, LLC, we’ll work to obtain the compensation you deserve for medical bills and other costs from the liable party or parties. A deck collapse can change your life, and we want to help you recover completely.
For a free consultation where we can get to know your case and you can get to know us, call our Belleville office at 618-641-9189. We’ll give you as much time as you need. If we do take your case, we will charge no fee unless we get you fair compensation.