Porches, decks, and balconies collapse due to a lack of structural integrity or proper maintenance. Builders, property owners, and property managers can be held liable for injuries.
Beware: Unsafe Porches May Collapse
Outdoor porches, decks, and balconies are popular features for homes, condominiums, and apartments because they allow easy access to the outdoors. Most homeowners and renters don’t think twice about entertaining or relaxing on these structures, but perhaps they should. According to the U.S. CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), there were 2,900 injuries and fatalities caused by structural collapses of porches, decks, and balconies between 2016 and 2019.
Porch and balcony collapses are usually associated with older multi-story houses or apartment buildings, while deck collapses are usually associated with outdoor extensions. Collapses of these structures have a variety of causes including:
- Eroding foundations
- Rotten wood
- Loose bolts and screws
- Damaged structural supports
- Excess weight
- Lack of maintenance
In high-rise apartment buildings, porches and balconies are often part of a concrete slab that extends through exterior building walls. Due to numerous collapses in high-rise buildings built in the 50s and 60s, concrete porches and balconies are now being removed. In large cities like New York and Chicago, slip and fall injury lawyers have witnessed a number of injuries and deaths.
In June 2021, a porch collapse occurred on South Lavergne Avenue in the South Austin neighborhood injuring four adults and two children. According to the Chicago Police Department, several people suffered severe and permanent injuries from the collapse. A Chicago city inspector said that stairs from a second-floor porch fell onto the first-floor landing of the building due to a lack of structural support. Matanky Realty Group who manages the property is being sued on behalf of injury victims. The lawsuit alleges that Matanky Realty violated Chicago safety codes by negligent management and maintenance of the building. Slip and fall injury lawyershandle numerous personal injury lawsuits filed against property owners and building managers for negligence.
According to records, in 2013 the previous building owner failed several inspections and was cited for not repairing/replacing defective parts on porches. Five years later in 2017 they received at least five city code violations and failed a building inspection again for not permitting city inspectors to check rear porches for damage. Matanky Realty Group alleges in the lawsuit against them they were unaware of prior code violations and citations on the property.