Deck Collapses Present a Threat to Vacationers

hutMany vacation rental homes along the North Carolina coast have exterior wooden decks to allow vacationers to enjoy the wonderful coastal scenery and weather. Unbeknownst to these vacation renters is the fact that many of these decks present a danger to anyone using them, including renters, their families, and friends.

NBC News reports that over 4,500 people have visited emergency rooms after deck collapses in the last decade. Across the U.S, an estimated 40 million decks exist, many several decades old.

Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has represented numerous individuals and groups who have been injured by improperly constructed and/or maintained decks. Many of these clients have been vacationing families gathering on a deck that collapsed due to a lack of proper maintenance or unresolved construction defects. A defect as simple as a rusty and corroded nail can cause a deck collapse, and the resulting catastrophic injuries to numerous people turn a family vacation into a nightmare in the blink of an eye. Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has represented individuals and groups who have been injured by deck collapses and railing failures. We have the experience and the expertise to help injured individuals hold those liable accountable, and we do so with aggressive determination.

Deck Inspection

North Carolina’s building code has requirements for new buildings; however, there are no requirements for ongoing inspections unless a complaint is made.

Some basic ways to check the safety of a deck include:

  • Watch for wood that is retaining moisture and signs of splitting or decay.
  • Check handrails and other components for strength by pushing or pulling.
  • Inspect the fasteners and support hardware for rust and corrosion.

Is a Landlord Liable?

A landlord is generally liable for property conditions; however, liability is sometimes assigned to the party in control of the property, rather than based simply on property ownership.

When visitors are injured by dangerous or faulty conditions, liability may belong to the lessee or tenant, not the lessor.

That being said, owners may be liable if they are contractually responsible for repairs, had knowingly allowed the dangerous condition to exist, or had knowingly allowed lessees to conduct dangerous activities.

On the other hand, if products or materials used in construction were defective and led to an accident with injuries, a product liability claim may be appropriate. Product manufacturers have a duty to warn consumers of defects that may be hazardous.

Vacation Rental Liability

North Carolina implemented the Vacation Rental Act (VRA) in 1999 to define the rights and responsibilities of property owners, brokers, tenants, and everyone else involved in a vacation rental. Property owners are responsible for maintaining the property in a “fit and manageable” condition. A rental agreement (contract) must exist in writing, be signed, and contain financial terms such as deposits and cleaning fees, as well as the processes of eviction and evacuation.

Wilmington Premises Liability Lawyers

If you’ve been through a deck collapse, we know how to help. Rhine Law Firm, P.C., has handled major premises liability cases and settled for large amounts. We hold negligent parties and their insurers accountable for harm on behalf of victims. For a free initial consultation, contact our office today at (910) 501-2474.