The collapse of third (3rd) story deck at the Waterford Landing Apartments located in Hoover, Alabama has tragically claimed the life of one Alabama resident and injured 6 others. The collapse happened Sunday night – July 4th – when 7 people were standing on the deck when it gave way sending the people crashing into the deck below. 25 year-old Gerald Andrew (Drew) Scribner an Iraq War Veteran was killed in the collapse. Initial reports indicate the deck was last inspected by the city of Hoover when it was built 15 years ago. Since that time it would be up to the apartment complex – Waterford Landing – to properly inspect and maintain the structural integrity of the deck. According to Frank Woeste, a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech University and expert in the field “A properly designed deck cannot be overloaded by too many people. ” Woeste also stated that the most common problem in deck design is how the ledger – the support beam for the deck joists – is attached to the outer band of joist of the house.
Initial reports also indicate the insurance company for Waterford Landing has already begun its investigation of the deck collapse. Under Alabama Premises Liability law, which comes within Alabama personal injury law (similar to slip and fall cases), the apartment complex owed a duty to the home owner and his guests to properly inspect and maintain the subject deck. While it is far too early to determine if the apartment complex complied with their duty, as experienced Alabama premises liability attorneys, we often see situations such as this where a company’s attempt to cut corners ends in a tragic result.