Roof deck injuries are an unfortunate circumstance of a homeowner’s failure to warn or to maintain a deck in a safe condition, or of a defective design or flawed material. Many of these injuries occur when large crowds congregate for parties or social events on decks that are structurally unsound and collapse, leading to catastrophic injuries and roof deck deaths.
Causes of Roof Deck Injuries
- Excessive weight on roof deck beyond its capacity
- Flawed construction by contractors or carpenters
- Failure of property owner to maintain structure
- Failure to repair known defects
- Intoxicated guests
Summer months are ripe for such catastrophes since it usually requires a large number of people massing on a roof deck before the existing flaws lead to the structure’s collapse, often from a height of 20 feet or more. In some cases, intoxicated guests may simply fall of the roof deck from carelessness or from a lack of a rail or soundly built fencing.
Roof deck injuries are part of premises liability law. Homeowners owe a duty of care to guests that include warning them of known defects and to make sure that if they know guests will be on the deck, especially large numbers, that the deck is structurally sound. Allowing an excessive number of guests on a roof deck without knowing if it could withstand the weight may expose the homeowner to liability.
If the roof deck was part of or owned by a business, then there is a heightened duty of care. This includes conducting periodic inspections of the deck to look for flaws, to maintain it and to know how much weight it can withstand or the number of guests it can accommodate before it poses an unreasonable risk of harm.
Other potentially responsible parties may be the deck’s designer, materials’ manufacturer, construction company or individual contractor that built the deck. These cases often demand the resourcefulness of a premises liability lawyer who can hire experts or specialists such as engineers or deck designers to examine the structure to determine if substandard materials were used, if water or other damage weakened the structure or whether other factors led to the roof deck’s collapse.
Damages in a Roof Deck Injury Case
Damages in a premises liability case are the same as in other personal injury cases. These include the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Possible punitive damages
If there was a fatality, the immediate family members can bring a wrongful death action for damages including burial and funeral expenses, loss of financial support, medical expenses if any, and pain and suffering if the decedent consciously survived before succumbing to fatal injuries.
Injured claimants have the burden of proving their damages, that their injuries were caused by the accident and that all medical expenses and wage loss are reasonable. Punitive damages are only awarded in particularly egregious cases where the conduct was willful, such as knowingly providing building materials that do not adhere to standards and cannot withstand certain weight or pressure. Loss of consortium claims are brought by spouses who may claim damages from loss of sexual services.
Pain and suffering is usually the largest category of damages awarded in a premises liability trial. Your personal injury lawyer can demonstrate how your injuries have affected your life by having medical experts prepare reports or testify, if necessary, regarding the nature and extent of your injuries, if you are permanently disabled, are suffering psychological trauma, are unable to engage in certain routine daily activities or in the hobbies or recreational sports or endeavors that you once enjoyed.
Retain Roof Deck Lawyer Deborah Gold-Alexander
Deborah Gold-Alexander is a Revere roof deck lawyer who has handled premises liability cases involving roof deck deaths and injuries throughout her over 25 years of practice. She has zealously represented the interests of injured claimants and families who experienced the loss of loved ones from the negligent or wrongful conduct of others. Contact her today at (781) 289-4235 for a free and confidential assessment of your roof deck death or injury claim.