A second porch collapse has occurred in less than three weeks in the greater Chicago area, with attorneys for the injured alleging that the owners of the properties had failed to keep their premises in a safe condition. The short lapse of time between the two porch collapses raises concerns about a potentially serious danger for Chicagoland apartment dwellers.
Porch Collapse in Highland Park
On May 26, 2018, Robert and Joellen Powell and their 19-year-old daughter Claire were on the second-story porch at the apartment they were renting in Highland Park when a section of the porch “pancaked” to the first floor. The family suffered various injuries as a result of the porch collapse, including fractures of the ankle, the torso, and the skull.
On June 12, attorneys representing the family filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking unspecified damages in excess of $50,000.00 against the landlord, Alex Tenuta of Highland Park.
The porch was constructed in 1999. Their attorney alleged that the porch collapsed because its “support members were rotted through and through” and that “proper and timely inspections” would have prevented this incident from occurring.
Similar Incident in Andersonville
As terrifying as it may seem, this porch collapse is far from an isolated incident. In fact, something very similar took place less than three weeks later in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood.
On June 10, approximately twenty people were on a porch on the 5400 block of North Ashland Avenue, where they were attending a party that coincided with the Midsommarfest street festival. The porch then gave way and collapsed onto the porch below it.
Three people were hurt in the porch collapse, including a DJ who was on the lower level, with injuries including head trauma and fractures of the leg and the wrist. All three were taken in good condition to area hospitals.
Attorneys for the injured said that the porch supports appeared rotten, though the owner of the building insisted that the porch passed inspection when the property was purchased a couple of years earlier.
Porch Collapse Statistics
According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission analysis in 2015, an estimated 6,500 people had been taken to emergency rooms as a result of a collapsed porches and balconies since 2003. Of those people, twenty-nine were killed.
The deadliest porch collapse in United States history occurred in Chicago on June 29, 2003, when a balcony collapsed during a party in a Lincoln Park apartment building. Thirteen people were killed in that incident, while fifty-seven others were seriously injured. Twenty-seven families filed suit against the building’s owner and the city.
The owner of that building contended that overcrowding led to the porch collapse, but inspections by the City of Chicago found that poor construction was to blame. The owner was fined a total of $108,000.00, though no criminal charges were filed.
Chicago Premises Liability Attorneys
Property owners have a duty to keep their buildings or land in a condition that is safe for visitors that are authorized to be there. If a property owner breaches that duty, those who have been hurt may be able to seek financial compensation for their injuries by bringing what is known as a premises liability claim.
With more than $2 BILLION successfully recovered for our clients, GWC Injury Lawyers is Illinois’ largest Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firm.
If you have been negligently injured on another person’s property, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago premises liability attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.