What Causes a Deck to Collapse?
If you are building a deck for your home or your home came equipped with a deck, you should always be aware of the stability of this structure. As a deck is attached to your home, a collapse or serious damage to the deck could result in serious injury and damage to your property. If you were injured in a deck collapse due to a negligent property owner, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia deck collapse lawyer today. The Reiff Law Firm is here to offer you the legal representation that you deserve to pursue a property owner for your injuries. Our firm is here to explain the various reasons that could cause a deck to collapse.
When constructed properly, a deck is an enjoyable space to gather with family and friends to perform activities and enjoy the weather. When a deck is built poorly, there is a constant threat to homeowners and any other individual that dare to walk on or under its surface. The following is a list of common causes of deck collapses that could lead to a premises liability lawsuit.
Having a Weak Foundation
When building a deck, it is vital that you build a foundation that can support the weight that will be placed on the structure. Placing the beams of a deck into bare soil or gravel can result in the structure being too weak to support a substantial amount of weight.
Concrete pads are typically used when placing the support beams for a deck into the ground. However, it is also possible for a deck to collapse if the beams are placed into concrete pads that are too small and could become worn down quickly. If every other portion of a deck is constructed perfectly, but the deck has a weak foundation, this could easily cause a deck to collapse under pressure and cause an unsuspecting person to suffer a severe bone fracture and other injuries.
Beams are placed upright into the ground and horizontally across certain areas of a deck to support the weight that will be placed on top of them. Many beams are constructed of wood or some form of durable metal. When constructing a deck, you must ensure that you choose undamaged beams that will stand the test of time and weather.
If a wooden or metal beam is not strong enough to support the weight placed on it, they may begin to splinter or bend. If this occurs suddenly or the homeowner does not catch this defect in time, their deck may collapse when they least expect it. As these beams hold up the rest of the deck, replacing or repairing them once they are damaged can be a dangerous task.
Ledger Board Failure
A ledger board is a wooden board that is positioned horizontally to connect to the house and the floor joists. Most decks are not constructed as free-standing from a residential property. As a result, you will need a ledger board to connect the deck to the home for additional support.
If a homeowner does not properly install a ledger board to the side of their house, this can result in the board detaching from the house and the joists, causing the deck to collapse. Another possibility is that maintenance of the ledger board was neglected, and the board eventually deteriorated and caused a collapse.
Wood Damage and Rot
Most decks are primarily composed of wood, meaning it is important to use the proper wood and to ensure that it is made resistant to moisture caused by varying weather patterns. You should routinely inspect your deck to ensure that rotting boards are replaced immediately.
Another issue is an infestation of termites that could attack the wooden structure. Termites consume wood from the inside-out, meaning you may not know about the existence of these insects until it is too late. If you often store piles of wood near the exterior of your home, you should consider having your home and your deck inspected for termites.
There are many other causes of deck failure that are not listed above. If you were injured because a negligent property owner failed to maintain their deck or a person sold you a home with a defective deck that injured you, you should consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Were You Injured in a Porch Collapse?
If you or a family member was seriously injured due to a collapsing deck, consult with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney today. The legal team at the Reiff Law Firm possess a wealth of experience handling a variety of personal injury claims, and we are here to help you pursue the compensation you need for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000, or contact us online.