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5 Common Causes of Deck Collapses in Pennsylvania

Wooden Decks in Pennsylvania act as an additional space in your home to relax, celebrate a special occasion, or enjoy a beautiful day. However, different from other areas of a house, decks are subject to heavy weather exposure. Throughout the year, decks must resist rain, wind, heat, and snow. Moreover, decks must be sturdily built to avoid collapsing. The Philadelphia premises liability lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm explain common causes of deck collapses in Philadelphia and possible outcomes of a deck collapse accident.

What Are the Main Causes of a Deck Collapse?

Deck collapses can happen for numerous reasons, especially when it comes to an old deck. Some of the leading causes of deck collapses include the following:

Foundation Errors

The foundation is arguably the most critical part of any construction. A solid foundation can make a deck last for a long time without breaking. On the other hand, an improvised, poorly-made foundation can increase the chances of a collapse. Beams and posts should be properly aligned and firmly sealed under concrete. Keep in mind that things like wind and gravity exert pressure on the deck over time. Therefore, when a deck’s foundation is not built following today’s standards, they could collapse.

To ensure a deck’s structural integrity, you must continuously monitor its foundation to ensure safety use. Additionally, you can always consult with a professional contractor who can assess the structure’s foundation.

Wood Rot

Another essential part of a deck’s construction is flashing the ledgers. In many deck constructions, ledgers must be flashed before attaching them to prevent moisture. Remember decks have to withstand rain during the year, and if moisture accumulates on the ledgers or planks, they can rot over time. A rotted plank or ledger can compromise the deck’s safety and cause injuries to unsuspecting visitors. Additionally, wooden decks need constant care since they will be exposed to mother nature’s elements throughout the year. It is always important to take to keep an eye on every beam, ledger, and plank to identify and fix any possible rot.

Ledger Failure

Many of today’s deck construction standards require the deck’s ledger to be safely attached to the main property via particular brackets, joists, or connectors. However, many older constructions were only connected to the central unit (house) with nails alone.  These older deck units require specially dedicated attention since they could be at especially high risk of collapsing.

Joist Failure

Joists are supposed to provide support for all the decking. When joists are not measured correctly or they rot, it may cause accidents that can lead to severe injuries. Particular attention to joists is required to ensure the deck’s structure will be safe to stand on. If you spot signs of rot on the deck’s joists, you should correct them immediately to prevent further damage to the structure and avoid any possible injury accident.


Weather is arguably a deck’s most formidable enemy. Decks are always at the mercy of nature’s elements as seasons change. Rain, excess heat and snow can still cause problems for decks, despite new, modern construction techniques.  Therefore, it is always wise to keep regularly checking and correcting any issues your deck may present.

Common Injuries in Deck Collapse Accidents

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Head injuries can be severe and sometimes life-threatening. During a deck collapse, a falling object or a trip and fall accident can cause a person to hit their head. A massive blow to the head area can cause TBI. People experiencing brain injuries are likely to suffer from memory loss, concussions, and contusions. In more severe situations traumatic brain injury can cause death.

Cuts and Lacerations

Puncture wounds are likely to happen during a deck collapse. Frequently, puncture wounds need immediate medical assistance to prevent further complications. Depending on the severity of the injury, a person could require surgery and an extended period of recovery time.

Bone Fractures

Unfortunately, during a deck collapse accident, people are completely exposed and at risk of sustaining injuries. For instance, broken bones are a typical example of the type of injuries a person can sustain during a deck collapse. As a result of a bone fracture, a person can experience a great deal of pain and discomfort. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may need medical assistance and prolonged recovery time.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Handling Deck Collapse Lawsuits

If you suffered a deck collapse on another person’s property, you need immediate legal assistance. A property owner must ensure all areas of their land are safe and hazard free. When an owner fails to fix an existing problem on their property, and such failure causes an accident, they can be held liable for any injuries you sustain. To learn more about the possibility of a premises liability lawsuit in a free, confidential consultation, call the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 709-6940.

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