That view from your hotel room’s balcony is to die for – literally. That is because a defect in the balcony or rot in the rail has compromised the integrity of the balcony. One step onto the seemingly-sturdy balcony may cause it to collapse and send you plummeting. Or leaning on the balcony railing may cause the railing to give way and cause you to lose your balance. Balcony collapse and similar incidents are terrifying and traumatic: Not only do they often occur without any warning to the victim but they can result in significant fall-related injuries like broken bones, paralysis, and even death. Premises liability laws are meant to encourage owners of properties with balconies to ensure these features are safe for guests and visitors and to provide a means of compensation when property owners fail to do this.
Injuries Resulting from Balcony Collapse
A balcony that crumbles under your weight or a railing suffering from rot and decay that gives way with the slightest of pressure can catch injury victims by surprise. Depending on the height of the balcony, the victim may suffer broken leg bones or arm bones if he or she lands on his or her side or legs. These injuries are temporary and will usually heal (although the healing process may take months to complete. Balcony collapse injury victims who escape with these types of injuries should consider themselves lucky.
If the injury victim falls a short distance and lands on his or her back, the threat of spinal cord injuries and spinal column injuries is great. These injuries can result in temporary or permanent paralysis that affects a part of the body or, in some cases, the whole body. Generally speaking, in the case of a spinal cord injury any body part below the location of the spinal cord injury may experience paralysis or loss of control. However, even if no paralysis results, an injury to the back or neck can be extremely painful and severely limit the victim’s range of motion. Not only this, but even short falls can cause moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries if the victim hits his or her had on the ground. Traumatic brain injuries often mean the victim will experience some degree of limitation or disability for the remainder of his or her life.
Of course, a fall from a sufficiently-high balcony will almost always result in the victim’s death. The victim’s death may not occur instantaneously, however: in some situations, a fall victim will suffer for minutes, hours, or even days before he or she finally succumbs to his or her injuries and passes away. Not only will the victim experience pain and suffering, but the grief and anguish of the victim’s family members will also be multiplied.
Preventing Balcony Collapse Accidents
It falls to the property owner to ensure any balconies and railings on his or her property are safe and structurally sound before allowing guests or visitors to use these features. Complaints from other visitors or guests that the balcony seems “weak” or “wobbly” or observations that the railing does not appear sturdy may all be indications that the property owner should have the balcony inspected by a professional. If structural issues are discovered that render the balcony unsafe, the property owner has a choice to make: He or she must either have the necessary repairs performed by someone who is qualified to do so before allowing visitors and guests to use the balcony or he or she must alert others as to the danger presented by the balcony and/or railing and take precautions to dissuade others from using the balcony.
Unfortunately, not all property owners will take these measures. While this subjects the property owner to civil liability in a premises liability injury lawsuit, it is far better for individuals to avoid injury if they are able to do so. Seeing signs of imminent balcony collapse or rail rot – a balcony that appears to be crumbling at the edges, that does not appear to be securely attached to the building, or a railing that appears or feels loose – should encourage individuals to immediately get off of the balcony and prevent anyone they are with from using the balcony.
My Loved One Was Injured in a Balcony Collapse Accident
If your loved one did suffer injuries or was killed in a balcony collapse accident, Stern Law, PLLC wants to help you. While we cannot undo the accident, we can help you hold the careless or negligent property owner who allowed the balcony and/or railing to deteriorate accountable for permitting such a dangerous condition to exist. Whether your loved one suffered fatal or nonfatal injuries, you and your family are likely experiencing a great deal of mental anguish and financial strain. Stern Law, PLLC will help you by providing direction and help throughout the recovery process and zealously advancing your legal case for compensation. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 for help with your balcony collapse injury case.