Porch and Deck Accidents
Porches and decks are great ways to spend time in the summers at homes in Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, and Bellingham. The vast majority of porches and decks are perfectly safe for use. However, there are, as you can imagine, instances when the porch or deck is old and has fallen in disrepair. When this is the case, the chances for getting hurt increase. If by some chance you are injured on someone’s property, in particular on a deck or porch, you have the right to take legal action against the homeowner. Typically, these cases will not directly affect the homeowner because the homeowner will have insurance. The insurance for the homeowner will step in and take over the case. Common reasons for porches and decks collapsing include:
- Rotten wood. This is the most common reason people fall through decks or porches. Wood has a certain shelf life, meaning the wood will not last forever. It has to be either maintained or replaced periodically.
- Too much weight placed on the deck or porch. No matter how new or structurally sound the deck or porch may be, virtually all of them will collapse if there is too much weight placed on them. Many times people place heavy pieces of equipment or heavy items, in addition to people, on the deck or porch, and this will cause the deck or porch splinter.
- Engineering problems. The deck may not have been designed properly in the first place, which caused problems.
- Bad foundation. There may be issues with the foundation that is aging and weak, which can cause the deck to buckle and give way.
- Bad railings. The deck or porch could have railings that are either old or improperly installed, which caused someone to lean against it and then fall.
If you have been injured on a porch or deck, chances are high you were on someone’s property, usually as a guest. Homeowners normally have insurance policies that will take care of this matter. However, this isn’t to say that you have an easy claim. Legally, you have to prove that you are entitled to compensation. There are three kinds of duties that extend to people on someone’s property. There are:
If you are trespassing on someone’s property and fall through their deck or porch, then the homeowner owes you no duty and your injuries are yours to deal with. If you are a licensee, the homeowner owes you a duty to make sure their home, porch and deck included, is safe for use and is not replete with any known dangers or dangers they reasonable should have known about. A licensee is someone who has permission to be on your property. An invitee is someone you invite onto your property, such as a friend or guest. The same rule applies as with a licensee: the homeowner owes a duty to this person to make sure their home, deck and porch included, is safe and free from known defects or defects that they reasonably should have known about.
In addition to knowing about the three legal classifications with regard to homeowners, it is also important to know the legal duty that extends to homeowners in terms of knowing the dangers that are present. A homeowner does not have to fix their porch or deck, for instance, unless they had reason to know the deck posed a hazard.
Having an expert in this kind of case can be helpful since it can prove that the deck was in bad shape to begin with, well before the accident happened. In addition, if you can help gather proof that there had been other similar incidents involving the deck or porch, that will also help prove your case because that will show the homeowner had knowledge regarding the deck or porch’s problems.Common Porch and Deck Injuries
If you have been injured on someone’s deck or porch by falling on someone’s property, then you may have suffered one of the following injuries:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Back injuries
- Butt or tailbone injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Injuries of this serious of a nature rarely just heal on their own. Rather, they require medical attention to address them. Medical specialists such as osteopaths, physiatrists, and chiropractors can help you get back to the path to health after suffering a serious injury on someone else’s property.How The Jackman Law Firm Can Help
If you have been injured by a fall on a deck or porch, you may have a claim against them to recoup compensation for your injuries. The Jackman Law Firm has the expertise to effectively represent you with the insurance company, in arbitration and if necessary in court to secure your rights for compensation and relief. After your injury, you are understandably upset and likely unsure of your options and which way to with your case. You are likely receiving a lot of phone calls from insurance companies, you’re going to the doctor or the chiropractor, and you may be missing work.
If this is the case, do not go through this process alone. We can help you every step of the way. We can work with the insurance companies so they do not contact you. We can help you secure all of the compensation you are owed for your injury under Washington State Law. The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover the following:
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for lost wages
- Money for out of pocket expenses
- Money for medical bills
We have the resources, experience, and successful track record to win your case. There may be instances when you find yourself having to defend yourself from untrue accusations from the insurance company for the party that injured you. They may claim that you are somehow either entirely at fault or partly at fault for your injuries.
For instance, if you fell through someone’s porch and injured your leg, the insurance company for the homeowner may argue that you should have watched where you were going. If this is the case, the Jackman Law Firm can help you by sending a subpoena for documents from the company, interviewing key witnesses, and speaking to the police to see if we can do everything possible to prove your case in your favor. Feel free to call for a free consultation.