What Do I Do If I Fell off of a Balcony?

In Louisiana, we see a lot of balcony collapse or balcony fall cases. This can occur when the actual flooring of a balcony caves in, if a balcony rails fail, or if an entire balcony collapses. This type of accident can cause severe injuries to an individual, as it typically involves a fall of one story or more. We have handled many of these cases, some dealing with falls at a residence and others dealing with a fall when a balcony collapsed at a hotel. In one of our cases, after the balcony failed at the hotel due to dry rot, causing serious injuries to our client, the fire marshal actually shut down the hotel, finding that the balconies on almost all of the buildings were at risk for collapse due to dry rot.

In Louisiana, the owner of a property is responsible for keeping it safe. Some of the applicable laws are as follows:

Art. 2317. Acts of others and of things in custody.

We are responsible, not only for the damage occasioned by our own act, but for that which is caused by the act of persons for whom we are answerable, or of the things which we have in our custody.

Art. 2317.1. Damage caused by ruin, vice, or defect in things

The owner or custodian of a thing is answerable for damage occasioned by its ruin, vice, or defect, only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of the ruin, vice, or defect which caused the damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.

Art. 2322. Damage caused by ruin of building

The owner of a building is answerable for the damage occasioned by its ruin, when this is caused by neglect to repair it, or when it is the result of a vice or defect in its original* construction. However, he is answerable for damages only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of the vice or defect which caused the damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.

Accordingly, if you are involved in an accident caused by a balcony collapse or a balcony fail, you will have to prove that the owner of the building knew or should have known of the problems with the balcony. This is typically proven through expert testimony.

If you have been injured due a balcony failure, it is important to consult an attorney who has experience handling these cases as they can be complicated. Please call us for a free consultation at 504-828-3313 or shoot an email to megan@kieferlaw.com if you would like someone to contact you.


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Megan Kiefer