Most people think that collapsed outside balcony accidents are rare when, in fact, they occur relatively often. In Chicago, Illinois, alone, more than 6,500 such incidents happened from 2003 to present time. Nationwide, the number is staggering with roughly 224,000 people injured from balcony accidents between 2003 and 2007.
The most common injuries sustained from this type of accident involve the neck, head, and spine. Along with abrasions, broken bones are likely. These accidents occur not only on residential properties but also on business grounds and universities. The incident at Berkeley’s Library Gardens complex in 2015 is a prime example. In that case, six Irish students died with several more severely injured. The reason the balcony collapsed was that contractors tried to save money, something the building’s management company ignored.
Following the collapse of a balcony, medical bills follow. The question is who is legally responsible for paying them and what is the best way to recover financially. The answer to the first part of this is that it depends on the cause. For example, if a homeowner recently hired a contractor or company to install a new balcony but the structure failed due to the use of improper materials or negligence at the hands of the builder, that person or entity becomes responsible.
If the homeowner knew about existing problems with the balcony but did nothing to remedy them, that person’s homeowner’s insurance would be liable. In the event a balcony collapse occurs at the home of a renter without renter’s insurance, the tenant would need to pay. The same goes for accidents on nonresidential properties, meaning it depends on the cause and situation.
Now, if the construction of the balcony is within code but the manufacturing company sold defective materials, that company becomes liable. As expected, an investigation would show that faulty supplies caused the collapse. Based on a situation-by-situation basis, one or more individuals and companies can be responsible for medical bills, as well as lost wages and, in some instances, pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, some collapsed balcony accidents result in death. When that happens, a family member can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the appropriate person or company. This complex situation takes time to move through the court system. To recover the most money possible, it is imperative for the family to hire a reputable attorney who handles cases like this.
Fun but Potentially Dangerous
While fun to hang out on, some balconies are potentially dangerous. If you suffered an injury involving a collapsed balcony, it is essential that you hire a qualified personal injury attorney. That individual will start the research and investigation process to prove your case and get you the financial compensation you deserve.
As part of that, the attorney will talk to witnesses and the property owner, look at police reports, review your medical expenses, and dig deep to see if negligence in building the deck or faulty materials are to blame. While you recover, you can leave your case in capable hands.