Chicago Porch & Deck Collapse Attorney
You may have heard that appearances can be deceiving, and when it comes to porches and decks constructed throughout Chicago, this couldn't be truer. It might be impossible to tell simply by looking at a deck or porch whether it will support an entire group of people or collapse when it bears the slightest weight.
The owners and management companies of buildings that incorporate these outdoor closures in their designs are responsible for ensuring that each deck or porch is up to par with 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.
Hiring an Illinois Porch Collapse Accident Attorney
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represent clients with serious injuries who were harmed in porch collapse accidents. Our law firm has built cases to hold the property owner, apartment building management, and general contractor legally and financially responsible for the balcony collapse.
Our premises liability attorneys currently represent clients throughout the United States, Illinois, the city of Chicago, and other localities, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Joliet, Lincoln Park, and Naperville.
Causes of Porch and Deck Collapses in Chicago, IL
Any outdoor enclosure such as a deck, balcony, or porch is subject to building code and Illinois laws that regulate weight loads and the routine inspection of the structure to ensure structural integrity.
Causes of porch and deck collapses can occur as a result of the following circumstances:
- Poor building design not built following local building codes could be hazardous. The failure might include the use of subpar materials and fail due to low quality
- Termite infestations that cause the weakening of vital structural components
- Rotting wood (dry rot) 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 collapse of the structure under the added weight.
Injuries Caused by Deck and Porch Collapses
The severity of injuries sustained in a collapse depends on the location of the structure and its height from the ground. The most common injury cases reported in deck and porch collapses include:
- Broken and shattered bones caused by falls or collisions with objects
- Injuries 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, broken bones, 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 he or she injures his or her spine during the fall
- Traumatic brain injuries caused when the structure or components of the structure strike the victim on the head
- Death due to injuries sustained in the collapse
Deck and Porch Collapse Injuries FAQs
What Causes a Deck to Collapse?
Most decks collapse due to a failure in constructing the post and beam system designed to hold up most of the weight. Sometimes, the wood beams rot over time, compromising the deck's integrity.
Other times, the general contractor used undersized components or failed to set the posts in a proper foundation. The deck could quickly fall apart when even minimum weight is added to the structure when the integrity of the deck is compromised.
How Often do Decks Collapse?
The Today Show published a report revealing statistics showing that over five-hundred individuals suffer injuries each year when decks and balconies collapse. The report indicated that many times, the accidents are fatal.
The report revealed that out of the forty million decks in the United States, about 50% were never built to federal and local codes.
Why do Balconies Collapse?
Many balconies on multistoried apartment complexes were constructed with wooden porches that, over time, have rotted and disintegrated. Any overloading with objects or people adds too much weight to the balcony's post and beam system, causing it to fall and crumble.
In 2015, six people died after a balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California, while family and friends attended a birthday party.
What Accounts for Roughly 90% of all Deck Collapses?
A lack of maintenance causes nearly all deck collapses when standing water or built-up debris compromised the deck's materials and exposed it to rot. At least one time every year, clean the deck up, scrubbing down the surface materials, and removing the buildup of mildew and mold.
Seal the top of the deck using a water repellent before covering the area with a waterproof tarp in time for the winter weather. At the first sign of deep snow, shovel the surface off and throw the accumulated snow to the ground.
Should You Shovel Snow off a Deck?
Snow at a depth of three feet or higher is extremely heavy. The excessive weight could compromise the deck's integrity.
Homeowners and tenants should consider shoveling the snow off the deck to minimize any potential hazard from the excess weight, including a collapse.
Why are Balconies Dangerous?
Hundreds of thousands to millions of balconies built in the United States over the last century have become weakened due to rotting components, causing balconies to collapse. Any weak spot or damaged area on a balcony compromises the structural integrity of its design, increasing the possibility of a collapse.
Excessive weight and improper anchoring into the ground might cause the balcony to twist out of shape and collapse.
Chicago Porch Collapse Injury Attorney
Were you or a loved one injured or killed in a deck or porch collapse in Illinois? If so, you could bring a porch collapse lawsuit against the building designer, construction company, owner, or management company seeking compensation. A personal injury attorney working on your behalf could recover compensation for medical bills, time away from work, emotional distress, ongoing medical treatment, pain, and suffering.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is a leading personal injury law firm in the Chicago area. We represent the interests of victims who have been injured due to negligent acts of others. Contact our Chicago porch collapse lawyers today to arrange a risk-free consultation with one of our highly qualified and experienced attorneys.
Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. Please do not send sensitive information to our law office through voicemail, email, or text message. Our attorneys follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).