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Deck Collapse / Railing Failure

Our firm has now handled two cases in which entire decks pulled away from houses, resulting in the deck falling sideways to the ground and severely injuring the occupants of the deck. In one case a large group of individuals were on a deck and were about to be served a low county boil, which was sitting over open flames, when the deck collapsed. This resulted in the boiling water and fire severely burning some of the individuals. We have also been involved in a number of cases in which the railing pulled away from the deck or otherwise broke.

Individuals often think that they will recover because they were injured on someone’s premises. However, just like a slip and fall/trip and fall case, the inquiry begins with the relationship of the individual who was injured to the owner of the home. See Slip and Falls/Trip and Falls. The individual is typically not an invitee because they are not there for business purposes. Usually the individual is there for social purposes and was a guest of the homeowner. As a licensee, or social guest, the only duty that the owner of the home owes to the individual is not to willfully and wantonly harm them. The insurance company for the homeowner will typically deny liability in these cases under the assertion that the homeowner had no knowledge of the defect and, therefore, did not know that there was a danger to their guest. Thus, they did not willfully and wantonly harm their guest and are not liable for their severe injuries!

This is a great example of why hiring an attorney immediately after being injured is so important. Your attorney can write a letter to the homeowner telling them not to make repairs or, if repairs are underway, to keep the pieces of the deck that are being replaced or repaired as evidence in the litigation. If they fail to do so, Georgia has a law, called spoliation of evidence, which might allow an individual to win a lawsuit based solely on the issue of the defendant spoliating the evidence. We then hire an expert who looks at the damaged deck or the materials removed from the damaged deck.

Georgia has certain building codes which are applicable to decks. If the homeowner is the one who constructed the deck then the homeowner may be, as a matter of law, on notice of a construction defect as a result of the fact that he constructed same. More often than not, the homeowner was not the original homeowner and did not construct the deck. However, if there is any visible rot or defect which, upon a normal inspection of a home by the homeowner, would show that the deck was starting to pull away from the house or a railing was pulling away from a deck or failing, then the homeowner can be charged with knowledge of the potential hazard and, therefore, can be charged with willfully and wantonly harming their social guest. A typical example would be visible rot on the boards where the deck attaches to the house. We have been repeatedly successful in these cases because of the immediate hiring of an expert and the willingness to spend the time and the money to get around the licensee or social guest defense.

Contact a lawyer after being injured at no fault of your own

To learn how we can help you after being injured, call us at 912-212-2100 or click here.

Reviews From Our Clients
  • "I was pregnant and injured in an automobile accident. Mr. Owens, personally, came to the hospital. He told me he would handle everything, I just needed to get healthy for the baby and myself. Mr. Owens did everything he said he would. I highly recommend Owens and Mulherin. Everyone in their office is friendly and informative. You're not just another client with them, they genuinely care." - Lindsay Chadwick

  • "Highly recommend working with this group!! They are very friendly, understanding, caring people and very easy to talk to. They Gave us plenty of time to talk with them. Did not make us feel rushed and explained everything thoroughly. Made the experience the best possible and we had a positive outcome during a tragic time. Thank you to the attorneys and entire staff." - Cindy Shuman

  • "I found Mr. Owens to be very professional and extremely sympathetic towards my needs as a result of my injuries. His experience helped guide me through my case and we ultimately won in the end...settled out of court! Thanks for all your help!" - Diane Calahan

  • "Following an automobile accident I sought representation from Wil Owens. Throughout the process he and his staff were always very kind, informative, and diligent in protecting my rights and interests. I knew my case was minor comparatively speaking, however, they never minimized the importance of my situation or claim. I would highly recommend this local law firm!!Sincerely,Christi (Fry) Vinyard" - Christi Fry

  • "This was my first time having to get an attorney and my experience was great. They make sure you fully understand everything that's going on and make sure the case is settled in your favor. I highly recommend this attorney office if you need one." - Dee James

  • "Absolutely 100% the best law firm around. I was completely blown away by the staff with all their generosity and helpfulness every step of the way. Wilbur Owens is hands down the best attorney I have ever met. He was caring, professional, and helpful in all aspects of my case, from the very begining with all my treatments to the very end with my settlement. He was highly recommend to me and I have heard nothing but great things about him and his firm. They truly are the best around and if ths need were to arise again in the future I will gladly come to the law firm of Owens and Mulherin. Wonderful people and they gave me my life back as well as piece of mind, and for that I am and always will be truly thankful." - Courtney Graves

  • "I had a good experience with Mr. Owens and Ms. Teresa. They were very professional and was on point. It was a long process but it was worth the wait. I would recommend anyone to this lawfirm." - Ashley Robertson

  • "My thanks to Mr. Owens and his crew. After getting injured at work , and not knowing what to do I found them thru a local web search. Everyone in the office was great, Will walked me thru my case and explained how it would go. After everything I would highly recommend this law firm. I can't say enough of Mr. Owens and his staff . Thank you for your help!" - Mark Kalla

  • "I worked with Mr. Ownens and his team for my most recent accident involving 2 uninsured motorists, and I am extremely pleased with the way my case was worked, as well as the outcome. I cannot say anything negative about the law firm whatsoever, but I can tell you that being hit by uninsured vehicles is a nightmare." - Nic Schuman

  • "Loved working with me. Mulherin. Didn’t make me feel rushed or pinned against a wall. He gave me the beat and worse case scenario. Went to bat for me when the insurance company thought they could get away with being cheap. Brooke was amazing to work with to. Always answered calls or emails in a timely manner." - Natasha Campbell

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Wilbur D. Owens Attorney Photo
Wilbur D. Owens

Mr. Owens devotes his practice exclusively to representing plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death claims. His primary focus is automobile/tractor-trailer accidents, dog bites, slip/trip and falls, medical malpractice, injuries from dangerous products, job injuries and nursing home abuse. Before joining forces with Mr. Mulherin to open Owens & Mulherin in 2001, Mr. Owens worked…

Joseph A. Mulherin Attorney Photo
Joseph A. Mulherin

Mr. Mulherin represents individuals in personal injury cases. His primary practice areas are automobile accidents, tractor-trailer collisions, medical malpractice claims and workplace injuries. Before forming Owens & Mulherin with Mr. Owens in 2001, Mr. Mulherin practiced at Bouhan, Williams & Levy, LLP, from 1984 - 2000, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury cases.…

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