Boston Porch Collapse Accident Illustrates Dangers With Older Buildings

Here’s a local development that happens a lot more around the Boston area than many people realize: Last night (Friday, Sep. 13th), a porch connected to an apartment building collapsed, with several people being injured. The accident happened at 1358 Tremont Street in the Mission Hill section of Boston. The porch was connected to a “3-decker” building, and as is common with these types of events, there was no prior warning – it just gave way. No time to get off before it came tumbling down. – in this case, falling on and crushing the porch immediately below it.

That’s not uncommon in deck collapse accidents: As a Boston porch/deck collapse lawyer, and as a lifelong resident of the Boston area, I can attest to the fact that building conditions in this area are primed for this kind of accident: The area is swimming in old, 3-decker houses and apartment buildings – most have been around since the 1950’s or so. These types of 3-deckers are almost always made of wood, not brick or concrete, and they are exposed to all kinds of weather that leaves them unstable. The result? Most of them are rotting, weak, and unsafe. Put more than a few people at once on them, and you’re risking a lot.

This is a major safety risk in the Boston area. Why? One word: Students. While a great many college students live in university dorms (which are almost 100% brick and mortar buildings that are usually quite safe,) a great many students in the Boston area also live off-campus. And what does that usually mean? Cheap housing – which is very older, often out of code, and – to be quite frank – dumps. The Allston-Brighton, Kenmore Square, Fenway, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Mission Hill areas are notorious for having these kinds of 50+ and 60+ year-old wooden structures, which are very dangerous. Many of them are owned by slumlords, and are fire traps as well as places where Boston stairwell accidents and Boston deck collapse accidents occur more than just occasionally.

People who have been injured in Massachusetts porch & deck collapse accidents can be compensated for their injuries, if it can be shown that negligence on the part of the building owner or property manager contributed to the failure or collapse of the porch. In these types of cases, negligence is usually established by demonstrating that the building or porch had not been inspected for safety as required by local building codes, and/or had not received ordinary and customary maintenance for an unreasonably long time. In some cases, building and engineering safety experts can be retained to testify that the building owner failed to exercise due care in his or maintenance of the structure. Assuming that such negligence can be shown, persons suffering injuries in a deck or porch collapse accident may be compensated for a variety of losses, including lost wages/income, medical and hospital expenses, physical therapy and rehabilitation, as well as pain and suffering or loss of physical function. An experienced Massachusetts deck/porch injury lawyer can advise you of the complete damages possible.

A word to the wise: When renting or visiting one of these older, wooden structure apartments or houses with a porch or deck, unless the porch is of fairly new construction, I’d stay inside. A broken back or neck isn’t worth the risk.

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