Georgia’s temperate climate makes it a great place to be outdoors throughout most of the year. Outdoor decks are a common amenity for many homes, apartments, condominiums, restaurants and commercial properties throughout the state. Although decks can be a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful weather, they can also be extremely dangerous when they are not properly built or maintained. Defective decks can suddenly collapse and cause serious injury such as broken bones and lacerations, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or even death.
Causes of Deck Collapse
Some of the common preventable causes of deck collapses, based on building code violations that could be detected with inspection, include:
Inadequate fasteners used to attach the deck. Building codes require that only certain types of fasteners be used to attach decks to the adjacent structures. These codes also specify the correct type, size and number of fasteners that must be used. Decks cannot be merely nailed to the primary structure. Instead, decks must be affixed with special types of screws, bolts and washers. Unfortunately, many times contractors cut corners by using nails instead of the required fasteners to attach the decks. This results in many deck collapses in Georgia when the nails give way because they can’t support the weight of the deck.
Inadequate support and anchoring. Building codes also require that all decks must be anchored in a way that protects them from breaking apart from the primary structure in the event of high winds. Failure by the contractor to sufficiently anchor the deck during the construction phase could also lead to the deck collapsing during a heavy windstorm.
Failure to protect against deterioration. Building codes mandate that structural elements exposed to the weather must be protected against decay and deterioration. This means that preservative-treated lumber should normally be used as the building material. Untreated lumber weathers very quickly resulting in decay and deterioration which can, in turn, lead to collapse.
The Mabrey Firm, P.C. successfully handles Georgia deck collapse cases and has obtained significant recoveries for our clients, including a $5 million verdict for the family of a 35year old woman who died after the outside deck of her house collapsed beneath her.
If you have been seriously injured as a result of a deck collapse, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To further explore what your legal rights and remedies may be, contact us today.