Many homes throughout Southern California have balconies, and this adds value and appeal to a home. However, if a balcony is badly constructed or maintained, serious injuries can occur. Balcony accidents may result from design defects, broken railings, excessive weight, building code violations, rotting wood, rusty nails, and other structural weaknesses. If you are injured in a balcony accident, you may have a basis to bring a lawsuit with the assistance of a Los Angeles premises liability lawyer at Sharifi Firm.Injuries Resulting from Balcony Accidents
Falls from balconies are often falls from a significant height, and the result may be catastrophic injuries or death. If you fell off somebody else's balcony, you may have a basis for bringing a premises liability lawsuit. This type of claim seeks to hold a property owner or occupier liable for injuries sustained on property by visitors.
To establish a property owner, occupier, or landlord's liability for injuries caused by a balcony collapse or accident, you will need to establish that the defendant controlled the property through ownership, occupation, lease, or otherwise, the defendant negligently used or maintained the property, the plaintiff was injured, and the defendant's negligence substantially caused their harm. A defendant can only be found to have negligently used or maintained the property if they either created a dangerous condition on the property or actually or constructively knew about a dangerous condition that caused a visitor’s harm.
For example, if a defendant property owner lost his temper and threw an axe at a balcony railing, such that a spindle was broken off, and then the defendant put the spindle back in place without conducting a proper repair, they have negligently used or maintained the property by creating a dangerous condition. If a child leans on the broken spindle and falls down 10 feet, suffering a traumatic brain injury, the child or their parents may have a premises liability claim based on the balcony accident.
On the other hand, if the balcony of a hotel has undetected rot and rusty bolts, and as a result, you fall off the balcony, you will need to prove that the owner knew or should have known about the rot or rusty bolts. Actual knowledge can be hard to prove. You might be able to show it, for example, by submitting maintenance records describing that the problem of a rickety spindle or rail and rusty bolts had been reported to management months prior to the accident.
More often, you will need to establish constructive notice by showing how long the condition existed before the accident. Constructive notice means that the property owner, in using reasonable care to inspect the property for problems, should have noticed a problem. For example, if surveillance footage shows that various employees leaned on the railing, and the railing moved forward, but nothing was done about it, this may be constructive notice on the part of management.
Economic and noneconomic damages that you may be able to recover for injuries sustained in a balcony accident include past and future wage loss, past and future medical bills, vocational rehabilitation, household services, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. If a loved one died in a balcony accident, certain family members may be able to recover wrongful death damages, such as loss of companionship, funeral expenses, and burial expenses. These damages can be reduced if the defendant shows that you were partially to blame for the accident through the doctrine of comparative negligence.Retain an Injury Attorney in Los Angeles or the Surrounding Cities
If you sustain injuries or lose a loved one in a balcony accident in the Los Angeles area, you should retain an experienced premises liability attorney. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our skillful injury lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation from those to blame for your accident. You can contact us online or call us at 1-866-422-7222 for a free appointment. We also assist victims in cities such as Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Riverside, Covina, and San Bernardino.