Balconies, Porches, and Decks
You might be surprised to know that injuries to tenants and guests who fall from improperly maintained or designed balconies at restaurants, apartments, condominiums or hotels occur with frightening frequency in Indiana.
Balcony falls can be caused by a number of different factors. Hotel, condominium and other property owners might not keep their properties up to date with appropriate requirements such as safety codes or industry standards.
Recovery for balcony falls or collapses of balconies is based on a legal theory known as premises liability. A property owner, whether an office, restaurant, a hotel, house, a retail store or elsewhere is required to maintain premises in a reasonably safe condition.
A balcony with guardrails that are damaged, weak, shaky, or too low to be effective could be an invitation to a serious balcony accident. Simple warnings about safety hazards can also make a difference between whether or not someone suffers a serious injury.
There are many types of situations where a tenant is hurt while renting property or visiting a business that has balcony problems.How to Hold a Landlord Responsible for a Balcony Fall Injury in Indiana
To establish a claim for “negligence” on the part of a landlord, business owner or apartment complex, you must show that the duty of “reasonable care” was breached (not met). This means the property owner must have actual or constructive knowledge (knew or should have known) of the presence of the hazardous condition of the balcony in order to be held liable. Schulz v. Kroger Co., 963 N.E.2d 1141, 1144 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012).
At Shaw Law, we believe it is never “reasonable” for a landowner to do anything but the safest choice available – especially if that choice costs little or nothing in order to ensure the property is safe for everybody.
An experienced Indiana premises liability lawyer like those at Shaw Law represents injured people who have been seriously hurt in balcony falls and other falls and accidents on another’s property. A balcony fall in Indiana can cause very severe injuries including head trauma, neck problems, broken bones and spinal injuries. In some situations, depending on the severity of the fall, a person may even die.
One way to hold a landlord responsible for a dangerous condition of the balcony is if the landlord should have discovered the condition based on a reasonable inspection schedule of the property. That is called “constructive knowledge” of the balcony problem.
Another way is if you or another tenant informed them about the dangerous condition and they took no action to fix it. That provides “notice” or actual knowledge to the landlord of the balcony problem.
Another way to hold a landlord responsible is if the landlord was aware of the dangerous condition and didn't put up an appropriate warning sign to advise you of the potential danger, prevent you or others from using the balcony or fix the balcony properly.
Furthermore, it might be possible to hold the landlord responsible if the balcony was not designed to withstand the weight of a reasonable number of users or guests at one time.
An experienced Indiana slip and fall from a balcony lawyer understands these methods of recovering from landlords and apartment complexes for balcony fall injuries.Can I Recover if the Fall was From a Balcony on Property I Rented
Maybe. It depends upon the idea of notice. “Notice” of the defect is important in cases where you are injured inside your own apartment. Keep track of all complaints made to a landlord and repairs made to your apartment or house. It might be important later if that item causes your injury.
If you or another tenant have informed the landlord of a faulty balcony and the landlord fails to correct this condition and you suffered injuries as a result, you can try to prove that the landlord was negligent.
Another important consideration is the lease itself. Some leases surrender possession of the entire premises to you, the tenant, which attempts to relieve the landlord for any liability in a subsequent injury during the leasehold.
The bottom line is this – it’s difficult to navigate a fall from balcony personal injury case against a landlord, business, hotel or apartment complex without excellent legal assistance.
Call us at Shaw Law for real answers. We get you back on your feet.