Balconies and Railings: When Apartments Become Deadly
In Texas, apartment living is very common and usually a very cost-efficient way to live for individuals and families. In most cases, apartments are safe and secure and the landlords are usually very responsive about the safety and security of their tenants. Unfortunately, there is a growing problem that comes with apartment living, and many people simply don’t think about it very often. Throughout Texas and across the country, there is a danger associated with balconies and railings that are an integral part of the design of many apartment buildings and complexes.
How Often Do Balconies and Railings Fail?
This is actually a more common problem than most people realize. Defective design and poor maintenance cause a significant number of accidents and falls throughout Texas and the United States. Many victims of these accidents suffer serious injuries and sometimes the falls prove fatal. The problem is unlikely to go away anytime soon; according to some estimates there are close to 50 million wooden decks and balconies the United States alone and most of them are over 25 years old. Since most of these balconies can be found attached to apartments, landlords are ultimately responsible for their care and maintenance.
Why Balconies and Railings Fail
Among the most common reasons for a balcony to fail are poor construction, improper maintenance, structural weaknesses and, in some cases, inadequate warnings to the tenant. Often, the balcony railing doesn’t conform to modern construction standards, meaning it’s possible for someone to simply fall over it to the ground below. In some cases, the balcony may simply collapse. Most tragically, quite often the victims of these accidents and falls are children and the elderly and, in most cases, such accidents are preventable if the landlord of the property keeps them properly inspected and maintained.
In the vast majority of cases, balcony and railing accidents happen when someone falls due to negligent maintenance and repairs to the balcony’s railing. Without the proper grounding support and maintenance, bolts and screws can sometimes become rusty, and if they’re not replaced, they can become a hazard. Also, as people are constantly leaning on them, so balcony railings can suffer extreme levels of wear and tear. Apartment complex balconies without proper weight limit warnings may have been used for storage by previous tenants, causing them to have been carrying more weight than they were made to carry for a long time. This creates an additional hazard that many people may not even be aware of because the balcony may be unable to support the weight it was originally made to support. Over time, components of a balcony, especially the railings, break down, and if property managers and landlords don’t take the proper precautions, a tragedy could happen that they may be responsible for.
Accidents and falls from a balcony usually happen very quickly and without warning. Among the most common injuries seen in these incidents include brain injuries or head trauma, broken bones, spinal injuries, internal bleeding, vital organ damage and even death.
Based on Texas law, a victim of an accident or fall from a balcony that can be considered faulty may have the right to claim compensation from the apartment managers and landlords, who are responsible for keeping that balcony and railings in the safest condition possible. In addition to keeping the balcony and the railing as safe as possible, landlords also have a duty to warn tenants of any possibly dangerous conditions that are present anywhere in an apartment. That means they are required to take precautions to prevent such accidents and falls, including posting signs warning of weight limits, providing handrails, and undertaking regular safety inspections.
Texas Lawyers For Apartment Balconies and Railings Injuries
Whenever a landlord fails to take necessary precautions, a victim injured by such negligence can bring a lawsuit against them. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident or fall from an apartment balcony, whether it is due to a faulty railing or any other reason, please call the personal injury attorneys at Adame Garza LLP as soon as possible. Our attorneys have the skills and experience to prove the property owner or landlord’s negligence and get you compensation for your injuries.