A fourth floor balcony of a luxury apartment building collapsed just before 12:40 a.m. on Tuesday in downtown Berkeley, sending 13 people falling 40 feet to the sidewalk below. The balcony collapse killed six people, and critically injured seven others.
The young people were at the Library Gardens apartment complex celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday, according to the authorities.
Every year hundreds of individuals suffer severe injuries and death resulting from collapsing balconies and porches. All too often such collapses are wholly the result on negligent and wrongful actions of individuals charges with the proper care and upkeep of the property.
COMMON CAUSES OF BALCONY COLLAPSE
Common causes of collapsing balconies can include, failure to properly construct the balcony, failure to provide for its proper and routine maintenance, overcrowding of the platform resulting in excess weight which cannot be supported by the structure, and failure to inspect for and replace loose joints and screws.
Common Injuries: Some of the most common injuries associated with falling and collapsing balconies include the following…
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Facial and bodily lacerations
- Broken bones and cracked ribs
- Ocular injuries resulting in the loss of eyesight
WINNING YOUR CASE – PREMISES LIABILITY CAUSE OF ACTION FOR A COLLAPSING BALCONY OR PORCH
The vast majority or personal injury cases are predicated on a negligence cause of action which required the proving four significant elements. The elements are provided below.
1. The at-fault party owes a duty to the injured party.
2. The at- fault party was in breach of his/her duty to the injured party.
3. Causation – the breach of the duty was the foreseeable and “but-for” cause of action. “But-for” states as “But for the action or inaction of the liable party the harm suffered by the victims would not have taken place”.
4. Injuries – there are actual and presentable injuries suffered by the injured party.
ESTABLISHING LIABILITY AGAINST PROPERTY OWNERS AND OPERATOR
Building owners owe a certain ‘duty of care’ to those individuals who come onto their property whether they are invitees, licensees, guests and sometimes even to trespassers. The level of the ‘duty of care’ is determined by the relationship of the property owner to the individual entering the property.
Invitees who enter a property for a business transaction (i.e. purchase of a product) are owed the highest duty of care and must be protected from any known and foreseeable harm on the property. Property owners even owe invitees a duty to properly and routinely inspect their property for harm and warn entrants of any potential harms on their property. California has blurred these distinctions over the years so you should seek an attorney who can explain these nuances of the law to you in simple and understandable English with examples.
COMPENSATION AVAILABLE FOR VICTIMS OF PERSONAL INJURY
Victims of personal injury are entitled to compensation for all harms suffered. The specific types of injuries and damages in personal injury causes of action include:
- All medical and hospitalization costs including past and future rehabilitation care.
- Economic damages – including damage to property, loss of income, and future loss of earnings potential.
- Non-economic damages – including pain and suffering, emotional trauma and mental anguish.
Attorney Michael A. Fiumara has more than 24 Years Of Experience Handling Balcony Collapse & All Other Personal Injury Matters Throughout The North Bay
If you have any further legal questions regarding liability and compensation for injuries caused by falling balconies or decking, feel free to contact our law offices at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a free consultation. We have offices located in Santa Rosa and San Rafael for your convenience.
“The Right Attorney Makes All The Difference”