After lengthy litigation, Cuming & Gillespie LLP recently resolved a claim arising from a dangerous third-storey balcony fall. The plaintiff, a young man, suffered severe injuries after a defective railing on the balcony collapsed without warning.

Balcony collapses or falls from balconies often result in devastating, long-lasting personal injuries or death and create substantial liability for property owners. They can be caused by various issues, including structurally unsound construction, failure to maintain aging buildings or defective railing installation. Over the past year, there have been several balcony collapses or falls across Canada, each causing serious personal injuries to those involved.

Four people hospitalized after balcony collapse in Centretown, Ottawa

On Halloween night in 2021, four people in their 20s were hospitalized after a second-floor balcony in Centretown, Ottawa, collapsed with multiple people. Three patients suffered minor injuries, while one had a fractured femur. Luckily, no one was on the first-floor balcony below at the time of the collapse.

The City of Ottawa ordered the building owner to remedy the safety issues. Local personal injury lawyers noted that the collapse was not surprising given the deteriorated state of many residential buildings in downtown Ottawa.

Wear and tear aside, the president of Keller Engineering’s Ottawa operations noted that a well-designed balcony should not collapse under the weight of several people:

“If the balcony is designed to code, and it was installed properly, the building code has a lot of redundancy built into it to ensure that there can’t be a situation where people on a balcony cause it to collapse in normal conditions.”

London officials deem apartment building’s balconies unsafe after toddler’s fatal fall

In October 2021, a two-year-old girl died after falling from the balcony of her family’s apartment in London, Ontario. The child fell from a gap between the balcony’s guardrail wall.

At the request of the London Police Service, the city’s building officials inspected the building. They issued an “Order to Make Safe” to the property owner after determining that the balcony guardrails had dangerously wide openings. Residents were directed to stop using their balconies until the problem had been remedied.

As of the time of reporting in the fall of 2021, the building owner stated it was working with professionals to confirm the city’s findings. It explained that all building codes were met when the high-rise property was built, and the city issued an occupancy permit.

Baby critically hurt in Laval balcony collapse

In July of this year, a 13-month-old baby was rushed to hospital in critical condition after a third-floor balcony collapsed in Laval, Québec. The collapse occurred when four people, including the infant, were standing on the balcony of a residential building. Witnesses reported a resident finding the baby caught under the debris. The baby was the only person to suffer life-threatening injuries but was stabilized in hospital.

Calgary man and two friends seriously injured after falling from Airbnb balcony in B.C.

Last month, a man from Calgary and two friends suffered serious injuries after a fall from the balcony of an Airbnb rental property in North Okanagan, British Columbia. Lawrence Pickrem, who took the brunt of the impact after his friend landed on him, reported that the two-storey fall was caused by a balcony railing giving way.

Pickrem was hospitalized with a broken pelvis and injuries to his spleen and tailbone. His friend suffered a fractured skull after hitting the concrete. Pickrem advised that he was required to use a walker and expected it would be at least three months before he could walk unassisted.

After the incident, Pickrem was left to determine how to travel back to Calgary. As he did not have insurance in British Columbia, he was advised that it would cost at least $4,000 to be medically transported home. 

Experienced personal injury lawyers help secure plaintiff’s rights after balcony falls

Individuals who are injured or lose a family member in a balcony fall or collapse should consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Having the guidance of counsel early in the process helps to preserve the injured party’s rights and legal options, particularly as the seriousness of their injuries may only become evident with time. A personal injury lawyer can also assist with wrongful death claims and long-term disability disputes arising from lasting or catastrophic injuries.

Contact Cuming & Gillespie LLP in Calgary for Top-Tier Personal Injury Advice

The skilled personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP have dedicated their practice to helping those injured through the actions of others for more than 20 years. We know that serious injuries caused by unsafe property significantly impacts people physically, psychologically, and financially. Through our wealth of experience and exceptional track record for obtaining compensation for our clients, we help injured individuals move on with their recovery.

Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Calgary, Cuming & Gillespie LLP proudly serves clients throughout the great province of Alberta. To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team, contact us online or call 403-571-0555.