Porch collapses, defective railings and the law

In The News

 When the World Literally Collapses Around You

You’re standing on solid ground, or so you think.

After all, you’re on your deck, or maybe you’re over at a friend’s. In any case, everyone’s enjoying themselves at the party, having a few drinks, grilling steaks and watching the big game on TV with friends and neighbors.

Everything’s great. The sun is out and the sky is clear, not a cloud in it, which as we all know, happens in Chicago as often as a politician admits he has his hand in the till.

The alcohol flows, everyone behaves, the steaks sizzle and the party rocks. Best yet, your favorite Chicago sports team won, and no one has a care in the world.

Until it happens.

Everyone’s out on the porch enjoying the scene when the deck collapses. Unbelievable!

The fire trucks arrive, followed by the screaming ambulances right behind them, trucking the wounded to the hospital. Then the coroner’s wagon arrives…

The Statistics Tell the Tale

It does happen. Porches, decks, and balconies sometimes fall to the ground.

For example, the Chicago Tribune reported that on March 7, 2015, a deck collapsed in a 3-story building injuring one man. It was in the far north side of the Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the fire department had to rescue people who were trapped inside the building.

In 2003, a worse disaster occurred in Chicago when a porch fell, killing 13.

Of course, these things happen all around the United States, not just in Chicago.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission analyzed emergency room visits for the Associated Press and found that since 2002, 29 people have died from such accidents. That includes the six who passed away recently in Berkeley, CA from a porch collapse. Additionally, the Commission believes that porch and deck collapses caused 6,500 ER visits.

It’s not just the danger of porches collapsing, countless other people are injured when railings an bannisters fail, causing people to fall to the ground.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

You can minimize the risk by taking a few precautions. Experts say that dry rot and poor construction account for most of these failures.

For that reason, you should regularly check your porches, decks, balconies and railings for dry rot. And if you know construction, look at these structures carefully to determine whether or not the contractor built them correctly.

If you don’t know how to examine these structures, hire someone who does. If you rent an apartment, report any problems to your apartment manager or landlord and ensure that he or she takes care of them.

Don’t let her get away with making excuses, because the law states that your landlord must maintain your apartment so that it’s safe.

Of course, that includes ensuring that your solid deck doesn’t crash to the ground with you and your friends following close behind.

What to Do if the Worst Happens

Maybe you know a person who was hurt or even killed when someone failed to ensure that his porch, deck or balcony could withstand normal use.

Or you yourself might have suffered due to someone else’s negligence, their failure to take normal care and use common sense. Unfortunately, it happens all the time.

That’s why we at McCready Law obtain compensation for people who suffer because others don’t pay attention. In fact, we represent folks who endure injuries from all causes, not just fallen porches, as long as someone else was at fault. To discuss a case involving an injury from a porch or other injury, feel free to call us at 773-779-9885.