Apartment balconies must be built according to code, as well as inspected and maintained on a regular basis. When the builder or property manager fails in this responsibility and someone is injured or killed as a result, they open themselves up to liability.
It is quite unfortunate that many apartment dwellers succumb to injuries as the result of broken railings and/or balconies in general disrepair. When these types of accidents and falls occur, victims suffer extensive bodily injury—sometimes even death.
We’ve seen countless reports of accidents caused by balcony railings giving way or due to an entire balcony collapsing without warning. The majority of these accidents are preventable; all the landlord needs to do is conduct regular inspections and perform routine maintenance.
Property owners and managers have an obligation to their tenants to warn them of any dangerous conditions that exist with a balcony or railing. They also have an obligation to take all necessary precautions in order to prevent accidents and falls because of faulty railings and balconies.
Causes of Balcony and Railing Accidents
If an apartment balcony is properly maintained and provided effective ground support, it is quite safe. A lack of those essential ingredients can create a dangerous situation, especially since tenants may be totally unaware of the dangers.
Some of the things that could cause these structures to fail include:
- Rusted, broken or missing screws, bolts, etc. due to irregular maintenance.
- Railings that become extremely worn because of constant stress from people leaning on them or because of changes in the weather.
- Balconies that do not contain proper warnings about weight limits.
Types of Injuries from Balcony and Railing Accidents
When an individual has a fall or accident involving a balcony or railing, the incident can happen quickly and lack any kind of preliminary warning. These types of incidents also result in serious bodily injury, such as the following:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Injuries to the spinal cord
- Trauma to the head
- Injuries to vital organs
- Ruptured spleen
- Internal bleeding
- Wrongful death
Recovering Damages after a Balcony or Railing Accident
The victim has the right to bring a lawsuit against the landlord for failure to exercise reasonable precautions in order to ensure the unit is safe for use.
Recovering damages from these types of accidents requires you to first file a claim. These type of cases will generally fall under premises liability—one of the more-complex areas of personal injury law. If the fault lies with the manufacturer or builder, you likely have a product liability claim.
Proving negligence and liability in these type of cases can be a difficult task, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you stand a much greater chance at a successful outcome to your case. Luckily, 99% of personal injury attorneys will handle premises and product liability cases on contingency (no win, no pay).
If you or a family member has been injured due to a defective or faulty balcony railing, I must stress the importance of consulting with an attorney. There are time limits to filing a lawsuit, and each day that passes only makes it more difficult to collect the evidence needed to prove your case.
By bringing a lawsuit, not only are you seeking to be reimbursed for your pain and suffering, lost wages, etc., you’re also helping to ensure that changes are made in regard to the safety of countless others in the future.