We successfully obtained a $712,500 on behalf of our client who was injured in a deck collapse. She suffered 2 fractures of her leg when a deck attached to a trailer gave way. This premises liability case occurred in Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia. Our client was at a Thanksgiving gathering when this completely preventable event occurred. There are a couple of key takeaways from this case:
- Take pictures as soon after the incident occurred as possible are critical. Within 2 days, we had pictures of the collapsed deck. As discussed below, this was vital because the insurance company instructed the owner to remove the deck within a week. If the pictures had not been taken quickly, the difficulty of this case would have increased dramatically.
- A tenant may be liable for the injuries of a visitor, but we are generally going to recover from the owner of the property in residential premises liability cases. In this case, our client was visiting a family member when she was injured in the deck collapse. Our client would not do anything to cause difficulty for her family member, and she wanted to make sure that any claim would be made solely against the property owner and that is who we ultimately recovered from.
- Spoliation letters must be sent immediately. The same day that we were retained, we mailed spoliation letters to the owner of the property requesting an opportunity to photograph and inspect the collapsed deck before any changes were made to it. He disregarded our letters and destroyed the evidence. This created a lot of leverage for our case and increased our client’s total recovery.