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When the balcony you are standing on collapses

When the place you are standing breaks off and falls, injuries are serious, and the number of people injured can be high.

Balcony collapses are a prime example of this. People collect on a space that is warranted to be safe, and something gives. Sometimes it is the balcony railing that collapses, and people close to the edge fall. Sometimes the entire balcony gives way and everyone falls. Usually one end breaks off and people slide off.

Balcony collapses happen in all kinds of buildings: in homes, in hotels, offices buildings, theaters, shopping centers, restaurants, grocery stores or any kind of retail or industrial space.

Often these collapses are catastrophic. You are aware of the 2015 Library Gardens residency disaster in Berkeley. A birthday party turned into a day of death for six students. Seven others were seriously injured in the fall. In 1981, the collapse of an aerial walkway at Kansas City's Hyatt Regency killed 114 people at a tea dance in the hotel's lobby.

Even private homes experience serious balcony, porch and railing collapses. Causes include:

  • Too many people gathered in a small space
  • Hot weather often brings people out onto balconies, seeking cooler air.
  • The weight of furniture or heavy equipment, such as a Jacuzzi or air conditioner compressor
  • Poor construction, design, or materials
  • Rusted hardware and crumbling pillars
  • Inadequate building codes, poor maintenance or lack of inspection

Similar accidents occur on construction and painting scaffolds, window washing platforms and fire escapes.

If you or a family member has been injured on someone else's property, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The law firm of Rosenthal & Kreeger LLP can help.

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