Chicago Porch Collapse Lawyer
Appearances can be deceiving, especially when trusting the strength and durability of porches and decks constructed in Illinois. It is impossible to identify any defect by merely looking at a porch or deck to know whether it will support an entire group of people or collapse when it bears the slightest weight.
Property owners and businesses incorporating outdoor closures in their building designs are responsible for ensuring that each deck or porch is up to par with the Chicago building code and regularly maintained to prevent failure. Unfortunately, many of these buildings are owned or managed by people who skirt their responsibilities to keep costs low.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represent victims injured in balcony collapses due to overcrowding, poor construction, or property code violations. Call our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) today to schedule a free consultation with our office to tell us about your Chicago porch collapse.
Our Chicago, IL personal injury attorneys currently represent porch collapse accident clients throughout the United States, Illinois, and the Chicago area, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Joliet, Lincoln Park, Waukegan, and Wheaton.
Causes of Porch and Deck Collapses
Any outdoor enclosure, including a deck, balcony, or porch, is subject to a building code that regulates the amount of weight that can be supported and routine building inspections to maintain structural integrity.
A deck or porch collapse can occur as a result of the following circumstances.
- A substandard apartment building design is not up to the required building codes, including using defective materials that fail due to low quality
- Termite infestations cause the weakening of vital structural components
- Rotting wood or weakening of load-bearing components over time due to lack of regular maintenance
- Exceeding the occupancy for which the porch or deck was designed, resulting in the construction’s collapse under the added weight
A property owner could be held legally responsible for code violations for any porch collapse accident in the city of Chicago. A seriously injured victim can file a premises liability lawsuit against the building owner for poor construction or failure to maintain porch or balcony integrity.
Injuries Caused by Deck and Porch CollapsesThe severity of an injury sustained in a collapse depends on the structure's location and height from the ground and any other objects with which the injured parties could come in contact. The most common injuries reported in deck and porch collapses are listed below.
- Broken and shattered bones caused by falls or collisions with objects
- Injury to the neck and spine— mostly if the victim was under the deck or porch during the time of collapse and it fell on top of him or her
- Crushing injuries and internal injuries. Those who are caught beneath a porch or deck when it has collapsed may suffer from multiple injuries to internal organs caused by the weight of the structure landing on their bodies
- Lacerations and bleeding caused by collisions with the ground, components of the structure, or objects on the ground or struck on the way down
- Paraplegia and quadriplegia if the structure crushes the victim’s spine or injures their spine during the fall
- Traumatic brain injuries caused when the structure's components strike the victim on the head.
- Wrongful death due to an injury sustained in the collapse.
The Chicago local CBS affiliate reported that the Chicago Fire Department transported four seriously injured victims of a back porch collapse in Palmer Square in 2018. One resident in an apartment building stated that party-goers were injured after a second-floor porch collapsed onto the first floor.
The following year (2019), a resident suffered serious injuries from a porch collapse in Auburn Gresham, falling twenty feet. City inspectors report that the porch collapse resulted from dry rot in the aging construction, creating a dangerous premises liability accident problem for the property owner.
Deck and Porch Collapse Injuries FAQs
Our law office understands the families have lots of questions about holding property owners liable for a dangerous porch collapse that resulted in serious injury or death. Our legal team has answered some of those questions below.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) for a free consultation to discuss your case.
What Causes a Deck to Collapse?
Because substandard construction and failures of posted beams holding up the deck is a leading cause of balcony failures. Other factors leading to a porch collapse include rotting wood, termite damage, and undersized parts.
Some builders set the upright posts in the soil where moisture can damage and rot components necessary to support weight loads. Additionally, failure to maintain the deck properly could cause the structure to collapse with or without additional weight.
How Often Do Decks Collapse?
Statistics reveal that over 500 individuals throughout the United States suffer injuries caused by a collapsing deck every year. Many of these accidents cause fatal injuries.
Collapses often occur due to faulty construction that fails to follow current construction codes or were built with substandard materials. The nails can rise, the wood can splinter or rot, and the railing can become wobbly without maintenance.
Every property owner has a legal responsibility to maintain their premises to avoid a serious accident leading to injury or death.
Can Balconies Collapse?
Rotting components or heavy loads on balconies could cause an unexpected collapse. Many porch collapse accidents occur on older commercial shops, offices, and multistory apartment complexes went over occupancy (excessive weight) passes the weight load capacity, causing the structure to fall.
Other factors that cause porches, balconies, and decks to collapse include:
- Design and structural problems
- Worn or rotting materials
- Defective foundation
- Inadequate railing or supports
Is It Safe to Leave a Porch Door Open?
Ingress and egress out a porch door could create problems even if you are home. Many houses, including apartment complexes, had multiple stories, or anyone, including a child, could fall through the baluster railings or climb over the rail and fall to their death.
Homeowners and renters can never be too safe in protecting those they love. Never allow young children out on an open porch where they could climb on furniture and pots to fall or jump off the railing.
Are Ground-Floor Apartments More Likely to Be Burgled?
Statistically, tenets living in a ground-floor apartment are at greater risk of being victimized through break-ins than other units on the second floor or above. All tenants should ensure that their front door and porch door are bolstered to prevent burglars from forcing entry into the unit.
Consider upgrading deadbolts and locks to minimize an unwanted intruder’s potential to gain uninvited access into the apartment.
What Are the Common Injuries after a Deck Collapse?
Balcony collapse victims could suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries if the porch is built on the second floor or higher.
Common porch collapse cases involve:
- Ankle and feet injuries when victims fall or jump from the porch while collapsing
- Broken bones and fractures caused by blunt force trauma when the body is pushed, pulled, or twisted during the accident
- Crushing injuries when heavy materials trap body parts during the accident. Many victims are found underneath piles of rubble and debris after the collapse.
- Lacerations and cuts, including puncture wounds, gashes, and skin tears
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that might involve concussions, contusions, and coma due to oxygen deprivation after the porch falls
- Spinal cord damage when the backbone is crushed, severed, or injured in a porch collapse property accident
Hiring a Chicago Porch or Deck Collapse Injury Attorney
Were you injured or a loved one killed in a porch collapse in Illinois? You may be able to bring a lawsuit against the building designer, construction company, owner, or management company to recover compensation for the cost of medical treatment, pain and suffering, and the loss of wages or quality of life due to tragic life-altering injuries.
The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are a leading personal injury law firm in the Chicago area and represents the interests of all those injured due to the negligent acts of others. Currently, our law office has obtained over $250 million compensation on behalf of our clients
Contact our Chicago porch collapse lawyers today to arrange a risk-free consultation with one of our highly qualified and experienced attorneys to discuss holding property owners accountable and obtaining compensation.
Your Illinois premises liability attorney will be happy to review the details of your porch collapse, provide legal advice, and assess and investigate your case to identify your deserved compensation for your serious injuries or the loss of a loved one.
If we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.
Contact our Cook County law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers represent clients and their cases in numerous practice areas: car accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, product liability, premises liability, tire defect, harmful medications, medical negligence, and wrongful death.
- OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) – Structural Collapse
- New York Times – Crowded Chicago Deck Collapse Fatalities