Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Decks, porches, and balconies are perfect for hosting events and relaxing outdoors. However, when they are not properly designed, installed and maintained, they can collapse. If you have an outdoor deck or porch, you could be held accountable if anyone is ever injured in a collapse or falling accident.

According to a recent study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 224,000 people were injured over a five-year period in deck or porch related incidents. Approximately 15 percent of those injuries were the result of a structural failure or collapse. According to a 2007 study by Morse Technologies, deck collapses are increasing about 21 percent annually.

The injuries suffered in deck collapse accidents vary from minor to severe. Serious injuries suffered in deck and porch accidents can include head trauma, bone factures, concussions, neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis. Many of these types of injuries can be prevented if the property owner hires someone to perform a deck inspection.
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The premises liability attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville Beach have learned that a three-story house, that was the scene of a balcony collapse that left eight people injured, has been condemned by Neptune Beach building code officials.

The collapse occurred as Independence Day revelers celebrated on the balcony. Witnesses say that from 20 to 50 people were on the balcony and an undetermined number of people were below it when it collapsed.

One witness interviewed by the Florida Times-Union said that balcony was filled with “young people who were obviously having a good time and jumping around.” He went on to say that he was surprised “nobody got killed.”

Although none of the injuries were considered life threatening, four people were transported to the hospital and four others were advised to seek medical treatment on their own.
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A couple has filed a lawsuit against Shuckers Bar and Grill after a deck at the North Bay Village restaurant collapsed, sending patrons sprawling into Biscayne Bay. Some 24 people were injured in the collapse. At least two people were critically injured.

The couple’s attorney contends that they were on the deck when it gave way. They claim they both suffered bodily injury, mental anguish and disfigurement. The lawsuit says that the couple also required hospitalization and they both lost income due to their injuries.

The premises liability attorneys at Farah & Farah in Lake City have learned that a 14-page complaint was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. It alleges that the restaurant had “a duty to properly maintain its property and to warn of dangerous conditions which it had actual constructive knowledge of.” The suit goes on to say that Shuckers had a responsibility to take action to remedy those dangerous conditions.

A North Bay Village Building Official claims that a visual inspection of the deck indicated that concrete had disintegrated around corroded steel pilings under the deck. That same official also signed off on the building’s last inspection in January, even though the state-licensed engineer who inspected the building claims he never inspected the deck because he believed it wasn’t required.
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The premises liability attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville have learned about the complaints of a local resident who contends that the City of Jacksonville broke its promise when it said that it would take down several dangerous trees in his neighborhood.

ActionNewsJax.com reported in February that it asked Jacksonville city leaders if there were any dangerous trees in the city that still needed to be removed. They were told there were no dangerous trees left standing, which prompted the resident to call the station, claiming there were three trees on his street that had been marked for removal, but were still standing.

The resident stated that after he called to complain the trees hadn’t been removed, but the city assured him they would be coming in six weeks. It’s been six weeks, and as of this writing, the trees are still standing.

The frustrated resident told Action News, “We’re concerned not only for us, but for the kids who make their way to school every day up and down this street.”
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Dozens of people were injured when the floor of an apartment collapsed during a party at a northwest Florida apartment building.

Authorities are saying that nobody died in the aftermath of the floor collapse at the Seminole Grand Apartments, but there were many broken bones and sprains. According to a Tallahassee Police spokeswoman, at least a dozen people were taken to the hospital.

It’s estimated that 100 people were attending a party at the second-floor apartment when the floor gave way, sending screaming partygoers down to the first-floor clubhouse. According to the Palm Beach Post, a neighbor described a chaotic scene of bloodied and injured people piled on top of each other.

One of the partygoers told the Post, “It was like a roller coaster with no seat belts. Imagine you’re just with your friends partying and next you’re wondering if you’re going to make it out of there.”

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Leon County EMS, and Tallahassee police and fire all responded to the scene of the collapse.
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A search for a missing toddler in Starke ended in tragedy when the two-year-old boy was found dead in a neighbor’s septic tank. A spokesman for the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office said that it appears that the little boy fell through a hole in a cement cover leading to the tank.

Sadly, after an hour-long search involving nearly100 people, police found the toddler floating in the tank a mere 10 to 15 feet away from his home. A preliminary medical examiner’s report indicated that he had drowned.
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The family of a Key Biscayne man who died after contracting Legionnaire’s disease at a JW Marriot hotel in Chicago has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Marriot International and Chicago-based developer The Prime Group.

According to the Chicago Department of Health, some 8,500 guests who stayed at the Marriot in the Chicago Loop between July 16 and Aug. 15 may have been exposed to the bacteria. Health officials pointed to a contaminated decorative fountain in the lobby of the hotel as the primary source of the exposure.

The disease can be contracted by breathing in mist or vapors from water contaminated by Legionella bacteria. So far, there have been 10 confirmed illnesses and three deaths associated with the Marriot outbreak.
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Elbo Room Roof CollapseThe Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale was made famous after it was featured in the 1960s movie Where the Boys Are. Since then it has become a favorite college spring break hangout.

At least one of the bar’s patrons is probably wishing he had hung out elsewhere after a section of the iconic bar’s roof collapsed, raining debris on his head and sending him to Broward Health to have his injuries addressed.

Fort Lauderdale Fire and Rescue reported that a man in his 50s was sitting on the patio on the southeastern side of the building when a 16-square-foot section of the roof collapsed, sending wood 2×4’s and roofing material down on his head. Fortunately for the patron, he was sitting at a table covered by an umbrella or his head injuries could have been far worse.
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An analysis by USA Today finds that among 15,700 nursing homes nationally, about 20% receive low marks for overall quality, and those with the lowest ratings – one or two stars – are owned by for-profit companies.

There are an estimated 1.4 million Americans in nursing homes. About a quarter-million live in the low-ranked nursing homes. But even they must satisfy the basic Medicare requirements. USA Today examined the federal government’s data from the first ratings of the homes’ performance. Late in the Bush administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began assigning the Zagat-like ratings based on quality, staffing, and health inspections. The Five-Star Rating System launched at www.medicare.gov.
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It was an unbelievable fall at a Jacksonville Beach strip mall.

A 7-year-old boy plunged through a skylight on the roof, falling 14-feet to the ground. A witness said she heard the child cry and the boy’s mother and sister were also on the roof.

The child was transported by air ambulance to Shands Jacksonville and is reported to be in serious condition. The skylight was a dome made out of soft plastic and not glass and it is reported to be flexible, which likely prevented the boy from severe lacerations.

The property owner says no one is supposed to be on the roof. Our prayers go out to the little boy for a swift recovery.
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