Now that the warmer weather is upon us, I am out and about walking in the neighborhood and taking in the scenery. As I walk through my neighborhood I am delighted to see all of the trees and flowers blooming, yet frightened when I look at the condition of some decks or balconies.
Many homeowners of town homes or “row homes” like to build decks off of the second story of their home to give them additional space or privacy to either drink their morning cup of coffee in peace or have a private area to gather with friends or family. As I walk around my neighborhood I see many decks that have warped wood, railings that are pulling away from the main deck frame or nails that are rusted, corroded or pulling out of the wood all together. Some of those decks are a disaster waiting to happen.
According to the North American Deck and Railing Association, there are over 50 million wooden decks in the United States that are over 25 years old. Most wood decks only have a life expectancy of 15 years due to decay of wooden support timbers caused by excessive moisture, floods, salt water spray exposure, heavy loads, poor upkeep, termites, rusting of nails or metal fasteners, or initial errors in structural design or fabrication that was not up to code.
When you step on a deck, porch, terrace or balcony, especially at a friend’s or neighbor’s house, resort, time share property, shore house or hotel, you assume that it is safe to support you and that the railing is secure but that is not always the case. Many homeowners, landlords or hotel owners, who have a duty to make sure the premises are safe, fail to do so. In addition, some railings may not be built to code and it could allow small children to either slip through the railing slats strangulating them or fall over the railing.
Anyone who owns a deck, porch, balcony, terrace or pier has the responsibility to ensure that the structure is properly built and properly maintained. A failure to maintain these safety precautions leaves a homeowner, landlord or building owner liable for any injuries caused to others due to a deck, pier or other structure defect or collapse.
Since 1958, the experienced premise liability lawyers here at our nationally known Beasley Law Firm have evaluated or represented numerous clients that had suffered brain injuries, broken necks, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, drowning or death due to deck, balcony or a national news making pier collapse like the Pier 34 deck collapse.
If you, your child or a family member was injured due to a balcony, deck, porch, railing or pier failure, please feel free to contact one of our experienced catastrophic injury lawyers, doctors or nurses online or for a strictly confidential and free consultation. Unlike many other law firms, you will never see us in the news or on our website advertising that we “have your case”. We know that you and your family have been through enough already and will always protect your privacy in an attempt to minimize any further pain and suffering.
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