Wrongful Death Falls from Balconies

Wrongful Death Lawsuits due to Falls from a Defective Unsafe Balcony with a Broken Terrace Railing
Falls of Infants and Children from Balconies and Terraces

The fatal and tragic death of a hotel guest or renter due to a broken or defective balcony or terrace railing is a wrongful death lawsuit that needs immense attention to detail.

Accident issues in such wrongfulk death claims include for example if there is alcohol involved or sometimes mild drugs, or issues of suicidal thoughts and tendencies, depression or clouded judgement during horseplay on spring break. These are all individual fact patterns and each wrongful death case is vastly different.

When it comes to the issue of negligence by a hotel or resort because they allowed, permitted or failed to detect, correct or fix the unsafe terrace railing, there are some pieces of evidence that my law firm will investigate.

To name just a few of the pieces of evidence that my law firm will investigate, we will compare other railings within the same hotel, motel or rental apartment building to the railings at the site of the fall. We will look for structural soundness, maintenance and repair.

What did the condo minutes say about the age of the balcony metal or concrete, and about the need to tear it down and build new replacements for the old crumbling concrete or rusted balcony rails?

A section of the rail may be removed, by Court Order, as a sample to test for the strength of the metal, aluminum, or wood. A mettalurgist or engineer may examine the sample for rust, wear and tear, or brittle aspects.

Is it a wood terrace railing, that has been exposed to the elements and become weakened due to termites or being water logged?

The hardware used to fasten the posts of the rail or to join the handrail to the posts should be examined. If the screws are rusted, worked themselves loose, or have been removed and are missing entirely then my law firm will have to find out all about it.

In a fatal fall over an apartment terrace balcony railing, the position of the accident victim is an important piece of evidence in the wrongful death lawsuit.

How far away from the dangerous balcony the victim is located: if there is evidence of where the first contact occurred; paint transfer from the rail on clothes; and other pieces of information will help to reconstruct the accident.

Maintenance and inspection records of the balcony or terrace will be subpoened. The owner’s deposition will be taken, and also the deposition of the maintenance man, building superintendent and handyman. Any rental or management company will be subpoenaed and may also be included in the wrongful death lawsuit.

There are so many actions and activities that need to happen in order to be in full control of all the facts and details that I could literally fill a book with them. Investigation and preparation provides the best result.

One of the bigger issues is whether the railing is up to the building code, and whether the hotel owner had a legal duty to upgrade the balcony during building renovations or upon acquiring the building in a transfer of ownership due to a sale. A trustee in bankruptcy may be negligent for failing to keep or properly maintain the premises.

An accident lawsuit brought over the facts of an infant or child that has a fatal fall from a great height from a terrace has special considerations. The age, size, weight and dimensions of the child victim as compared to the distance or dimensions of the vertical railing bars; corner railings; the height of the railing; access to climbing objects; items of attraction nearby such as tree limbs, birds, balloons at a party; the presence of adult supervision; the weather and many other fact patterns make each case unique.

When a balcony gives way or a terrace is dangerous because it is broken, and someone falls to their death, a lawsuit for wrongful death may be brought quickly to obtain subpoena power and preserve physical evidence and records.