Balcony Railing Accident Lawyer
Balcony railings are meant to protect residents and their visitors from accidental falls and injuries, but many apartment buildings fail to take the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of their residents’ balconies and railings. The Chicago balcony railing accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are dedicated to holding negligent complexes accountable when their disregard for resident safety leads to serious accidents that claim lives or result in life-changing catastrophic injuries. If you have been injured in one of these accidents, it is important to know your rights and what legal resources are available so that you can recover the compensation you are entitled to.
What are the Common Causes of Balcony Accidents?
Failed railings and sudden collapses catch apartment residents and their guests off guard because the common assumption whenever you rent a property is that it is maintained properly and safe for habitation. Years of wear and tear, changing weather conditions and neglect can cause balconies and railings to lose their structural integrity, leading to their eventual failure. Here are some of the causes of accidents our Chicago railing accident lawyers have encountered.
- Screws and bolts supporting the railing become rusty due to years of neglect and precipitation. Rust can eat through the metal and weaken it. When a resident or a guest leans against the railing, the screws or bolts snap and the railing and victim tumble off the edge.
- Tenants and their guests subject the balcony to extreme and excessive use by overloading the balcony with people or property. When the tenant moves out, the next one to move in may inherit a balcony that is on the verge of collapse.
- Apartment staff do not notify tenants of balcony weight limits and tolerances. Residents may subject balconies to excessive wear and tear without knowing that their actions are impacting the structural integrity of the balcony. If apartment management does not provide sufficient warnings, it could be held liable when tenants overload their balconies unwittingly.
- The property owner or management company does not perform routine inspections or maintenance to ensure the structural integrity of balconies. Most railing accidents can be prevented by simple maintenance and the replacement of failed parts.
What Types of Injuries are Suffered by People Due to Defective Balconies?
The injuries resulting from balcony accidents are often serious and catastrophic. In most cases, the victim is completely unaware of the issue and the accidents happen without any warning signs. The height of the balcony and objects on the ground can play a large role in the severity of injuries suffered, and the prognosis for victims is rarely positive. Injuries suffered in these accidents include the following.
- Fractures and shattered bones or joints. The impact of a fall from considerable heights is almost always bound to result in broken bones. Expensive surgeries and painful rehabilitation may be required if the fractures are serious or located in or near load bearing joints.
- Traumatic brain injuries. If the victim strikes his or her head in a fall, it is possible to endure traumatic brain injuries that have a long term impact on cognitive functions, memory, speech and motor function.
- Injuries to the back and spine. Many victims of balcony collapses or railing accidents suffer injuries to their spines upon impact and may become physically impaired as a result. In the event that the injury can be treated, it will often result in one or more expensive surgeries followed by a long period of painful rehabilitation. The worst case scenario is that the victim is paralyzed for the rest of his or her life. Caring for a paraplegic can cost millions of dollars over a lifetime.
- Ruptured or perforated organs. Blunt trauma can cause internal injuries, especially if broken bones with sharp edges cause internal damage. Broken ribs can puncture the lungs and the spleen can rupture upon impact. The hidden danger of internal injuries is that they may not be detected until they have been allowed to cause considerable damage to vital organs.
- Secondary injuries and complications. Untreated open wounds, perforated organs and internal bleeding can result in additional complications such as the development of infection at the site of the injury or septic shock, which is a condition resulting when an infection reaches the bloodstream where it can be carried to other parts of the body.
- Death from injuries sustained in the fall or upon impact.
Sample Illinois Balcony and Porch Fall Accident Settlements & Lawsuits
$250,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2018:
This Chicago balcony railing accident involved a man in his late forties. He was carrying up items on his third-floor balcony when the railing failed. He fell down to the ground. The fall broke several of his bones. He needed medical care to the tune of over thirteen thousand dollars. Also, he had substantial pain and suffering left over after the accident. He sued the property management company. They replied that they warned the man about the defective balcony railing but also admitted it was fine to use the balcony. After that contradiction became apparent, settlement negotiations commenced and the man obtained $250,000 of financial compensation for his personal injuries and damages.
$2,800,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2018:
This balcony accident happened in Wood Ridge, Illinois. A woman in her late twenties was hanging out with her brother and cousin on her balcony. At some point, the rusted railing broke and they all fell three stories to the ground. Each of the sustained serious personal injuries such as broken bones, concussions, or herniated discs and spinal damage. All of them needed substantial medical care and combined it cost them about $250,000 for the medical expenses. They sued the management company and claimed the railings violated the town’s code. Opting to avoid the trial process, the defendant chose settlement. The woman received $1.6 million. The cousin obtained $950,000. Finally, the brother was given $250,000.
$4,500,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2016:
Here, a 25-year-old man was visiting a friend at a Chicago apartment. He was hanging out with a few people on the host’s balcony. He pressed up against the balcony railing to steady himself when it suddenly detached. He tumbled to the ground about fifteen feet below. He broke his heel, wrist, and spine. Medical expenses for these injuries totaled more than $500,000. The accident also left him with arthritis and substantial long-term pain and suffering. He sued the building owner and property manager for his expenses, harms, disability, and reduced quality of life. The pair combined to give him a financial compensation package of $4.5 million to settle the matter.
$1,025,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 2006:
This case was brought by a Chicago construction worker. The man was forty-two years old. He was working to install a balcony railing at a new apartment building. During the construction, the railing as well as the support hoist he was using both failed and he fell more than twenty feet. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, herniated disc, and other personal injuries. He incurred over $40,000 in medical expenses, and more than $100,000 in lost wages. He sued the building owner. The man claimed that the company violated OSHA standards, local construction rules, and was negligent. Without admitting any of the charges, the company was able to arrange a private agreement with the construction worker to settle the matter for a reported $1,025,000.
$475,000 Settlement; Chicago, Illinois; 1996:
In this unfortunate balcony accident, a little boy was playing at a Chicago-area park. He was just two and a half years old. He slipped through the balcony railings and fell down to the ground. The fall resulted in a broken skull and closed head injury. The treating doctor testified that the incident would not leave him long-term cognitive impairment or defects. However, he still suffered mightily from the events. His family sued the park and the two sides entered into settlement negotiations after a preliminary back and forth. In the end, the defendant offered the family $475,000 to settle and they accepted.
What is Duty of Care and How Does it Apply to Balcony Railing Lawsuits?
All apartment complexes are bound by a duty of care to their residents. In short, this is defined by reasonable measures to ensure that residents are provided safe living environments. When filing a claim against a negligent property owner or management company, our Chicago railing accident lawyers will present evidence that apartment staff failed to meet their legal responsibilities prior to an accident. In most cases, the failure to meet duty of care is due to a lack of maintenance or a failure to properly warn residents concerning potential danger, such as providing clear balcony weight limits.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is an award winning law firm with a successful track record and our Chicago balcony railing accident attorneys can help you recover every bit of compensation you are entitled to if you have been injured in a balcony accident. Contact us today to arrange a risk-free consultation and case evaluation with one of our qualified and experienced lawyers so that you can learn more about your legal options and rights and we can gather all of the information we need to work on your behalf. Our contingency fee policy allows us to provide expert legal services to people of any financial means and ensures that you will only be required to pay legal fees when we are able to make a financial recovery on your behalf.