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Philadelphia Personal Injury Collapse Lawyers

Balcony Collapses

Balcony collapses have come into the news a lot recently. Between fire escapes, balconies, and decks collapsing, people are getting severely injured or even losing their lives. Unfortunately, balcony collapses happen all too often. Balcony collapses can be the result of too many people on the balcony at one time. If you have invited a lot of people over to a party that you are throwing, make sure to know the weight limit. Not all balconies can handle that much weight. If you do not own your property, your landlord should be able to tell you how much weight the balcony can take. Balconies also collapse frequently due to improper installation or maintenance. This is often the case because of Landlord neglect.

An even scarier time for a balcony collapse is when there is an emergency situation. Fire escapes are often the source of terror for people. They tend to be made of metal that seems to get rusty and rickety easily. This is especially true if you live in a building that is not known for its quality.

The injury lawyers at Freundlich & Littman, LLC are experienced with injuries caused by balcony defects and are here to fight for you and make sure you receive the compensation that you deserve. Contact the collapse lawyers at Freundlich & Littman, LLC at 215-545-8500 or today for a free consultation.

What are the Responsibilities of Landowners, Landlords and Property Management Companies?

Whether you own your property or rent it from a Landlord and/or Property Management Company, there a certain duties that cannot be ignored. To illustrate this further, take into consideration a real-life scenario pulled from the news. A group of Irish students attending college in Philadelphia were attending a 21st birthday celebration of a friend. At one point, at least thirteen students were standing on the balcony of the apartment. Tragically, the balcony collapsed, killing six people and injuring seven. An inquiry into the incident revealed that the balcony collapse was due to dry rot. The balcony was never installed properly, evidently, which led to the poor condition of the balcony. Who was at fault here?

In Pennsylvania landowners owe a duty to their tenants and all foreseeable guests of their tenants. This duty can not be waived, the Landlord or Property Management Company owes tenants and guests the highest duty of care, that is to protect them from known and foreseeable risks as well as to inspect the property for hazards.

In the City of Philadelphia, there are additional rules that govern landlord’s conduct when it comes to maintaining their property. Specifically, the Philadelphia Maintenance Code makes landowners responsible for the following: “The exterior of a structure ‘be maintained in good repair, structurally sound and sanitary so as not to pose a threat to the public health, safety or welfare.’”[1] For the landlord situation, they had a duty to have a balcony that was safe for use. After the installation of a balcony, the City of Philadelphia requires that landlords and other landowners inspect their property to make sure that the balcony will not collapse due to dry rot.

More importantly, the balcony does not have to collapse for the landowner to be liable for your injuries. A landowner, landlord or property management company can be liable if you are a guest of a tenant, or a tenant at an apartment building, and you trip and fall off the balcony because of a defect in the condition. Under the circumstances, it is the landowner’s responsibility to protect you from not only known dangers, but also against those which might be discovered with reasonable care. Contact the collapse lawyers at Freundlich & Littman, LLC at 215-545-8500 or today for a free consultation.

What if I Own the Property Where the Balcony Collapsed?

In certain circumstances, you may not be responsible for injuries that occur on your property if you are the landowner. Say you invite a neighbor over for coffee and you are out on your balcony when the balcony collapses under your neighbor’s feet. Unbeknownst to you the contractor you hired to fix and/or replace the balcony failed to install it correctly.

While it is the law in Philadelphia to inspect your balcony, a balcony collapse may very well be the product of poor installation. This is something that homeowners only have so much control over. Contractors have a responsibility as well to properly install a balcony and use suitable materials when constructing it. If you just moved into a property or the balcony was recently constructed, it may not be your fault as the landowner. Contact the collapse lawyers at Freundlich & Littman, LLC at 215-545-8500 or today for a free consultation.

What Should I Do?

If you were injured or someone close to you was killed after a balcony collapsed, or you believe that someone was injured on balcony because of a defective condition, then you should contact an experienced lawyer immediately to evaluate your claim. Lawsuits for injuries related to a balcony defects or collapses must typically be brought within two years. The two year statute of limitation starts at the time of injury, or the day of that the balcony collapsed. The best thing that you can do is seek medical attention immediately even if you do not think that you are hurt. Injuries can often be deceiving. Once you seek medical attention, keep all records they give you in a safe place. If you used personal medical insurance to cover your injuries, keep copies of the bills in a safe place.

If you decide to sue the owner of the building or contractor who put in the balcony, these records will make the process smoother. Any records of recent construction or maintenance should be preserved in case you own the property where the balcony collapsed. When you make the decision to sue to recover for any medical expenses or after losing a loved one, know that you have the option to go through the process with a dedicated legal team at your side.

Freundlich & Littman LLC has recovered substantial sums of money from insurance companies in balcony collapse cases.  Contact the collapse lawyers at Freundlich & Littman, LLC at 215-545-8500 or today for a free consultation.

[1] PM § 304.

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