Call For Honest Advice
404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237)

A Deck Collapse Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries

For many, there is no better time than Spring in Georgia. With temperatures averaging 65 degrees as a low and 80 degrees as a high and low humidity, it is the perfect time of year to be outdoors. Of course, unless you suffer from seasonal allergies that come with our mild weather. Just kidding – take an allergy pill and get outside. It is also the time of year with plenty of things to celebrate – Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and graduations to name a few.

But if you plan on celebrating with friends and family at your home and on your deck, make sure it is safe. Do you see any rot, rust, loose handrails, or other hazards? If so, get them fixed to keep your guests safe. These hazards could ultimately lead to a deck collapse causing catastrophic injuries.

Statistics About Deck Injuries

According to the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), there are more than 60 million decks in the United States. Of these, approximately 50 million are residential decks with the remaining being commercial decks. NADRA estimates that, overall, 30 million decks are past their useful lives and need repair or replacement. This seems to us to be an extraordinarily high number of decks that may be at risk for structural failure and collapse. In fact, a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated 33,000 people were injured in deck and porch accidents between 2003 and 2007. Of these injuries, approximately 15% were related to structural failure or collapse of the deck or porch. As you can see, deck collapses happen, and when they do, people can suffer catastrophic injuries.

Common Causes of Deck Failures

Before discussing types of injuries or negligence, let’s look at several common causes of deck collapses:

Poor Construction

Decks that are not built to code or improperly installed can be at risk of collapse. A big part of the problem is that far too many decks are not built by qualified professionals. For instance, NADRA estimates that only 40% of new deck construction is handled by an experienced deck builder while 60% is done by homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, and other unqualified people. Accordingly, the vast majority of the unqualified 60% may not even know how to build a deck to code, or even know what the code is at all. Inexperienced and unknowledgeable deck builders may also use the wrong materials, improper fastenings, and improper footings. Not only would these mistakes cause a deck to fail inspection, but they could also lead to structural problems, safety hazards, and deck collapses.


When decks are designed and built, they do have weight limits. Overloading a deck with too many people or heavy objects can cause a collapse. Deck collapses from too much weight are unfortunately common and can cause serious injuries and even fatalities. In recent years, some of these types of collapses made the headlines. Examples include five people getting injured at a beach house in Malibu, California; multiple injuries at a house party in New Jersey; 22 injuries from a rental property collapse in Tennessee; and a deck collapse at a bar in Savannah, Georgia, injuring 14 people. Deck overload combined with a compromised or unstable foundation can be a recipe for disaster.

Aging or Deterioration

As mentioned above, there are about 30 million decks that are still being used past their useful lives. Decks that are not properly maintained can become weakened over time, making them more susceptible to collapse. Obviously, age leads to deterioration but there are also other factors including rotting wood, rusted or corroded metal, and insect damage. Plus, environmental conditions can accelerate the pace of deck deterioration. For example, anyone living in the Atlanta area knows that we have had an abundance of rain lately, well over our average rainfall. The excess moisture can cause more wood rot and more rust – leading to more deck failures.

Types of Injuries

Depending on the severity of the incident and other factors, deck collapses can cause catastrophic and less severe injuries including:

  • Broken arms, legs, and fractures to other body parts
  • Serious cuts and bruising
  • Concussions, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety
  • Death


If you or a loved one experience a catastrophic injury from a deck collapse, you can seek justice and compensation from the negligent parties. Depending on the circumstances, responsible parties may include:

  • Whoever owns the property where the deck exists – this could be a homeowner, landlord, or commercial property owner. In any case, the property owner may be negligent if they knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to fix it.
  • Whoever built the deck – this could be a professional contractor, handyman, or do-it-yourselfer. Regardless of who built the deck, they may be held liable if the collapse was caused by poor construction or failure to follow building codes and regulations.
  • The manufacturer if the collapse was caused by a defect in a product or component of the deck. Perhaps the deck was built with a defective railing or a faulty fastener.
  • A maintenance company if they failed to properly maintain the deck.
  • Other third parties such as inspectors, architects, engineers, etc.

Figuring out who is at fault for your deck collapse injury is not an easy task. The personal injury lawyers at The Baer Law Firm have the experience to identify all the responsible parties. It is our goal to hold those responsible for your injuries by getting you the compensation that you deserve. This will allow you to get your life back on track. If you or a loved one is hurt in a deck collapse, please contact our office at The Baer Law Firm or call us at 404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237).