Deck Collapse: Family Sues for Negligence After Christmas Accident

Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 04:19 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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A family has filed a lawsuit after seven people were hurt when a deck collapsed as family members posed for a photo during a Christmas party in New Albany, Ind.

Family members, including Barbara and Alexander Latuch, are suing Wolf Lake Homeowners Association Inc. and homebuilder Schuler Homes Inc. for negligence. Injuries from the Dec. 22 fall include broken heels, a broken knee, a fractured vertebra, and a mangled thumb, according to the Courier-Journal. The lawsuit seeks damages for medical expenses, pain and lost wages.

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Nick Stein, the family’s attorney, told the Courier-Journal that the deck wasn’t constructed properly and problems should have been seen during routine inspections.

“It just happened so fast,” said family member Mark Wark, who broke both heels and doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to go back to work, according to the newspaper. “All you could think was, ‘Wow. What’s happening?’ You didn’t have time to comprehend that the deck was falling.”

The company that built the deck said that it is shielded from liability because the deck is more than 10 years old, according to Wave 3 News.

A video of the collapse posted on YouTube by relative Jeremy Wilt has drawn national attention, and Wilt has started a campaign to raise awareness about deck safety.

"We want the public to know what to look for so something like this doesn't happen to them," Wilt said, according to Wave 3 News.

A checklist on the North American Deck and Railing Association website can help people identify warning signs.

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