Decks can be wonderful gathering places to enjoy Pennsylvania’s summer weather with friends and family. However, decks can also be very dangerous – especially without proper maintenance, construction, or inspection. If a deck is defective, rotted, or poorly built, the structure can buckle or even collapse, sending victims falling to the ground below. Falls from decks can cause serious injuries, and in severe cases, even death. The Philadelphia deck collapse injury lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm examine five common injuries in these types of accidents. If you or a family member was hurt in a deck collapse accident in Pennsylvania, The Reiff Law Firm can help you fight for injury compensation.
Causes of Summer Deck Collapse Accidents
We think of decks as luxury features, and with good reason: they offer extra space, fresh air, and a much-needed dose of added privacy. Unfortunately, what seems like a luxury feature can sometimes prove to be a ticking time bomb on the verge of collapse.
Deck collapses can happen at any moment. However, these types of accidents are most common during the warm spring and summer months, for two reasons:
- People are more likely to use decks in spring and summer, especially for events like barbeques and parties. The more people crowd onto the deck, the more likely the structure is to break or collapse.
- By the time spring arrives, the deck has spent months exposed to wet, icy winter conditions, which can cause extensive decay. Without thorough repairs, weather-related deck damage can critically weaken the entire structure.
Common Deck Collapse Injuries
As recently as June 9, 2018, news outlets reported a deck collapse in Maryland that injured multiple people. The causes of the accident are still under investigation.
Serious or fatal deck collapse injuries can occur at any deck height. However, the higher the deck is positioned, the greater the likelihood of death or catastrophic injury. Common injuries in deck collapse accidents often include:
- Ankle Injuries – Ankle injuries can occur when a person jumps or falls from a collapsing deck and lands on one or both feet. The prominent ankle bones, which are not well-shielded by protective layers of muscle or fat, are also prone to injury from contact with falling objects like heavy chunks of wood.
- Bone Fractures – Unfortunately, broken bones are extremely common in accidental falls. Fractures can result from the force of impact, or because a body part gets pulled, pushed, or twisted into an unnatural position. Bone fractures can also be accompanied by soft tissue injuries, such as torn ligaments. Our Philadelphia broken bone lawyers have seen many cases where accident victims cracked or shattered multiple bones after falling or being struck by objects.
- Crush Injuries – As the name implies, a crush injury occurs when a body part becomes trapped and crushed beneath a heavy weight. A person who gets trapped or partially trapped beneath a pile of debris or rubble is likely to sustain crush injuries.
- Cuts and Lacerations – The victim can suffer puncture wounds or deep cuts and gashes, especially if the deck features a glass railing or barrier that shatters in the collapse. Some cuts are so deep that they damage nerves or organs, creating another set of medical problems for the victim. Even minor cuts can become badly infected.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries – A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any brain injury, including a concussion, that is caused by force or impact (as opposed to factors like illness or oxygen deprivation). In a deck collapse accident, a TBI can occur if the victim’s head strikes the ground, or if a falling object, like a chunk of wood, hits the person’s skull. You should seek treatment and consult with a Philadelphia TBI lawyer right away if a loved one sustained a head injury.
Philadelphia, PA Personal Injury Lawyers Handling Deck, Porch, and Balcony Collapse Lawsuits
These are only a few of the possible injuries that can result from deck accidents. If you or a family member sustained any type of injury due to a deck collapse in Pennsylvania, including an injury that isn’t listed above, you should talk with an experienced deck, balcony, or porch collapse injury lawyer from The Reiff Law Firm about how we can help. Depending on why the deck collapsed and how you were affected by the accident, you may be able to sue the property owner, the deck builder, or other parties. There have been multiple cases across the United States in which deck injury victims filed lawsuits against building companies, homeowner associations, property managers, and other defendants. It may be possible to recover compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers are here to provide a compassionate shoulder while fighting for your family. If you or a family member was hurt in a deck, balcony, or porch collapse accident anywhere in Pennsylvania, we can provide clear, honest feedback about your situation and potential legal options. For a free legal consultation, contact The Reiff Law Firm online, or call our law offices at (215) 246-9000.