After the long, cold winter we have experienced here in Massachusetts, the promise of spring on the horizon is a welcome thought. For many, a spring morning or afternoon spent on a backyard deck can be a wonderful way to soak up the sunshine and enjoy the outdoors. However, it is important to regularly check the deck and its supporting structures for signs of wear and/ or rotting. Doing this can help to prevent accidents that may result from the deck crumbling or collapsing.
Had the homeowners association that owned a clubhouse performed regular checks on its deck, an accident may have been prevented. Instead, the deck collapsed, injuring and sending many to the hospital.
The collapse took place when a family met at the clubhouse for a Christmas party a few days before the holiday. As they gathered on the deck to take a group photo, the deck gave way, causing the 24 people on it to fall one story to the concrete below. Those who were positioned next to the railing seemed to have suffered the most since they fell 15 feet straight down without the benefit of someone behind them catching their fall.
The family reports that three people who were injured in the fall are still unable to walk. They have filed a premises liability lawsuit against the makers of the deck and the clubhouse’s homeowners association. They feel that the collapse was not something that occurred out of the blue, but that it would have happened sooner or later.
Source: 14 News, “Family hopes deck collapse video will educate about potential deck dangers,” Eric Flack, Feb. 24, 2014