Earlier this month, a woman was awarded $500K by a Georgia jury who found that the homeowner was liable for a deck collapse that caused the woman to break her leg in two places. The woman, Monica Conover, was a party guest at the rented property in 2014. The homeowner, Tyson Martin, was found 85% responsible, while the tenants hosting the party were found to be 15% liable.
The deck was said to be over 30 years old and photos taken prior to Mr. Martin purchasing the home showed that he had since repaired certain parts of the deck, indicating that he was aware of the deck’s structural problems. A contractor who came in after the collapse to repair the damage said that the deck was not properly secured to the house and that much of the wood was rotten. Ms. Conover’s attorney quoted the contractor’s testimony, saying that “He said that deck was completely unsafe and that, had a qualified person… inspected it, there’s no way he would’ve let anybody go out there. No way.” Conover’s attorney also asked the jury “Is it reasonable for a landlord to inspect a deck that is 35 years old before they rent it out? And you all get to make that decision.”
Deck and Porch Collapses – Do You Have a Reason to Sue?
The verdict in Georgia is a reminder that there is a duty of a home or property owner to maintain a reasonably safe environment. This area of law, called Premises Liability, is extremely layered and complex. Premises liability covers everything from a deck collapse such as the one in Georgia, to a fall, to a drowning, to a dog bite that happens on someone else’s property. While Illinois law has specific language regarding how to determine liability, in general, any action or failure to act to safely maintain or remedy a piece of land or structure, as well as failure to properly secure an animal that ends in harm to another person or property can be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.
As one of Chicago’s top injury law firms, the personal injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti have nearly 3 decades of experience negotiating and litigating injury cases involving violations of city and suburban commercial and residential building codes, as well as workplace injuries. We’ve successfully settled and litigated numerous injury cases with large awards, including a $6 million settlement for the families of 6 children who died in a Chicago fire after the building management failed to comply with fire and smoke detector laws.
Contact us for a free, confidential consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. Consultations can be requested online or by calling us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872.