Decks come in various sizes and are especially useful during warmer weather. Unfortunately, all decks are not built equally, and poor construction can lead to serious incidents.
If a deck collapses while standing on it, you may not know whom to hold responsible. The best course of action would be to consult New York personal injury lawyers. They can investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and help you determine liability. They can also help you file a personal injury lawsuit to demand compensation for the injuries.
What Are the Common Causes of Deck Collapses?
Deck collapses are relatively common, based on the following common causes:
Wood is vulnerable to many elements and can be weakened by water entering the building or the point where the deck connects to the building. Rotting wood compromises the deck and causes the screws to rot. In other cases, the wood may not have been treated or sealed well, exposing it to water damage.
Poor Design and Construction
Homeowners are required by law to get permits before they start constructing their decks. If a homeowner doesn’t get licenses before building, they compromise on their chances of getting a safe deck made by the contractors. In that case, the homeowner can be held liable for injuries if the deck collapses while someone is standing on it.
An example of poor design is where there is no visual cue that the deck ends and stairs begin. There should be a marking that gives you a visual cue, such as yellow paint at the edge of the landing or a different color wood for the stairs.
Improper or Defective Materials
Contractors and homeowners may sometimes try to cut corners by using weak wood. The screws and nails used may also not be long enough to support the connective joints.
Too many people standing on the deck at any one time can be a recipe for disaster. If the deck can’t support the weight, it can collapse, causing severe injuries. Sometimes, these injuries have lifelong consequences. A homeowner should be aware of this and enforce limits on the deck’s capacity.
Who Should Take Responsibility for Injuries Caused by a Deck Collapse?
Given the reasons contributing to the deck collapse, several parties may be held liable for the injuries resulting from the fall.
Improper construction or lack of maintenance of the deck is one of the most common reasons for the collapse of decks. If you were injured or lost a loved one after such an incident, you could hold the construction company liable with the help of New York premises liability attorneys.
They can investigate the accident and collect evidence that points to contractor negligence. Types of negligence a contractor may be held liable for include:
- Not complying with the local building code when constructing the deck
- Not acquiring the appropriate construction permits, hence lack of accountability
- Not properly weatherproofing and waterproofing the building materials
- Not supporting the deck from below, primarily by using improper footings
- Not certifying the soundness of the structural walls to which the deck will be attached
- Not making use of the proper bolting patterns
Property Owner or Landlord
The property owner may be liable for the injuries you sustain due to a collapsed deck. They could be held responsible for improper structure maintenance or not having the structural defects remedied in good time.
The homeowner may argue that they didn’t know that the construction company failed in its duty to meet the safety standards and therefore assumed that the deck was safe. The construction company may be held liable in this case. If the deck collapses because of faulty materials, the liability rests with the manufacturer of those materials.
If a deck collapses when you and other invited parties are on it, you could be liable for the damages. For example, if 65 people cram onto a deck as small as 8 by 8, which is 15 feet off the ground, they’re technically at fault for the collapse. Their mistake is overcrowding a deck not designed to hold so much weight at a go.
However, the homeowner could still be held liable for not stopping the accident from happening. While the deck may be built according to the building codes, it may comprise faulty materials that may compromise its integrity.
Determining liability in any personal injury case is often complex. That’s why it’s crucial to work with qualified personal injury attorneys in New York to help you collect damages from the liable party.
What Should I Do After a Deck Collapses?
If a deck collapses while you’re standing on it and you sustain injuries, there are crucial steps you should take. The first is to visit a doctor for a thorough assessment of injuries, broken bones, head trauma, or other internal injuries.
After addressing your immediate medical needs, you should contact an experienced balcony and deck collapse lawyer in New York. A skilled attorney can act swiftly in collecting the necessary evidence to help you pursue a compensation claim. Your attorney can stop the property owner from repairing or disposing of the collapsed deck to conceal the evidence.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?
The New York premises liability attorneys you contact will thoroughly evaluate the case’s facts to determine the at-fault party. With this information, they can file a lawsuit on your behalf to help you claim the compensation you deserve.
They will advise you on your legal options and advise if you’re entitled to recover the following damages:
- Payment of your medical bills
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Other expenses directly related to the personal injury
You may also be entitled to compensation for wrongful death if you lost a loved one in the incident.
Learn Your Legal Options Today from an Experienced Deck Accident Lawyer in New York
Being on a deck is all fun until it comes tumbling down. You could sustain severe injuries in the fall and probably have to endure life-changing consequences. You don’t have to suffer the consequences in silence, as deck collapse accident attorneys in New York can help you file a lawsuit.
Lawyers at our firm are committed to helping families and individuals recover compensation for their injuries due to negligence by others. They have the skills, knowledge, and experience to help you navigate complex personal injury cases. Contact us for a FREE case evaluation.