Co-authored by Jacob Exline of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.
A faulty porch can turn a fun summer get-together into a dangerous and deadly event. Porches, both commercial and residential, are often made hastily or negligently and lack the upkeep necessary to maintain safety. Just last month, a second-story porch in Evanston collapsed, falling onto a first-floor porch, injuring several people. Police reported that the porch was not properly attached to the house and the weight of those on it led to its collapse.1
The most deadly porch collapse in the United States happened in Chicago in 2003. On a summer night in Lincoln Park, a second-story porch collapsed under the weight of 75 party-goers, killing 13 and injuring 50 more. The porch owner and porch contractor were fined $108,000 by the city and paid millions more in litigation. City inspectors stated that the porch could have withstood the load had it been constructed correctly according to city building codes.2 According to the Consumer Safety Commission, 6,500 people have been rushed to emergency rooms from injuries sustained from collapsing balconies in the past 12 years.