Coughlin & Gerhart LLP

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Collapsing decks can lead to premises liability lawsuits

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2017 | Premises Liability

Owners of hotels, vacation rentals and other properties in New York must maintain premises in a manner that will ensure the safety of the public. The North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) reported that over 40,000 decks on U.S. properties are in states of disrepair, resulting in a significant rise in injuries suffered due to deck failures. The owner of a property where such an incident occurs could face a premises liability lawsuit.

NADRA also said that over 75 percent of deck collapses result in death or injuries. They say the fact that many decks were constructed before current building regulations and safety precautions to protect consumers were introduced endangers many lives. Factors that could lead to deck collapses include design defects, inferior construction, wood rot or insufficient maintenance.

Another aspect that might cause falls from balconies, decks, stairwells and porches is railing failure. Insecure railings can give way even when normal force is exerted on them. Along with being a prescribed height, secure installation and structural support are vital. Poor maintenance can lead to rusted bolts and degradation of building materials, particularly in areas where torrential rains and salty breezes from the ocean are prevalent.

If a person is injured in New York in an incident that involves a collapsing deck or a broken railing, the property owner may be responsible for damages. However, proving negligence can be challenging, as this is a complicated field of the law. Fortunately, an experienced premises liability attorney is available to assess the circumstances of the incident and provide the necessary support and guidance in the pursuit of financial relief to cover damages.

Source:, “Lowry: Inspections help avoid deck collapses, railing failures“, Stephen G. Lowry, Sept. 27, 2017


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