On Saturday, September 14, 2019, the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association held the 142nd annual New Jersey State Firemen’s Convention and Parade in wIldwood, New Jersey. Firetrucks from all over the state were displayed and there were several other important events taking place that day at the New Jersey Firemen’s Convention.
That evening a terrible event unfolded. Firefighters and their families were in town unwinding from the day when there was a horrific deck collapse.
Wildwood Major Collapse E baker Ave Structural collapse with multiple injuries & entrapment. USAR and Medivac. 4 Story Frame decks collapsed. Serious Injuries. NJFiremans Convention this weekend. pic.twitter.com/Vvl9SCWGHu
— NorthJersey FireNews (@NJFires) September 15, 2019
According to USA Today, 21 people were transported to Cape May Regional Health System. Thankfully, even though children were injured, all were released from the hospital by 10PM.
A witness saw the deck pull away and separate from the house. She explains the terrible chain of events unfolding in “slow motion” as people slid off of the collapsing decks. Apparently, a deck separated from the building, landing on the deck(s) below, injuring and trapping several people.
At the time of this article, we’re not sure how many people were in the deck.
Who pays for deck collapses?
Even though we depend on firefighters and they save our lives, don’t expect insurers to accept any responsibility for this. They make money by not paying claims.
If you were injured in any type of deck collapse on the Jersey Shore, you should be aware of what happens next.
There are very likely going to be several parties liable for a deck collapse. Some of those parties could include a rental agency, realty company, the homeowner, the deck builder, construction crews, contractor, inspectors and maintenance companies.
None of these companies, or their insurers, are likely to accept blame. In reality, several parties may share liability, especially if there was a structural weakness or lack of inspection.
Additionally, homes used as rental properties often require special deck design signed off on by an engineer and/or created by an architect.
What causes deck collapses?
In New Jersey, permits and inspections are required for new decks and other deck construction, but after they’re built, they begin deteriorating: wood gets soggy and nails erode. However, one of the most common failures in a deck is improper fastening of the deck itself to the house. The part of the deck which connects to the house is called the deck ledger. The part of the house the deck ledger should be properly connected to is called the rim joist. When the deck ledger is improperly attached to the rim joist, decks collapse when they have aged or when a certain amount of weight is placed on them. Unfortunately, some contractors actually nail ledgers to joists. You might find this shocking, but this is a common cause of deck collapses. Of course, nails pull out.
Other causes of balcony and deck collapses may include poor design, defective materials, lack of inspections, improper maintenance, rotten wood or poor workmanship.
Contacting a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer.
Nobody wants to file a lawsuit against another entity, however, when insurers won’t pay you for your injuries and future losses, you need to protect yourself. In many collapse cases, companies will actually try to blame YOU for your injuries, telling you that you had too much weight on the deck or that some other company is to blame. Don’t let that happen to you.
A good attorney is going to hold every responsible party accountable for your injuries, maximize the amount of compensation awarded and ensure the best possible outcome of your case.
If you were involved in any type of balcony or deck collapse in New Jersey, you should speak to an attorney who knows the law and can advise you of all of your legal options.
Personal Injury Attorney Edith Pearce understands New Jersey premises liability law. Unlike some firms which have many different attorneys handling different aspects of your case, Edith Pearce is personally involved in every case that we handle. She genuinely cares about her clients and you will not be treated like just another case or file. If you or a loved one was injured anywhere along the Jersey Shore in a deck collapse, contact her for a free consultation and case evaluation. She handles cases throughout eastern Pennsylvania and all over New Jersey and frequently visits the shore herself.