The Kennebec Journal reports a man was seriously injured after falling from a pub deck.
The incident occurred shortly after midnight on a Sunday at a pub in Rockland. The 30-year-old Old Town man fell from a 17-foot-high deck and struck his head. He was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport and then transferred to Portland, where he was listed in critical condition.
It’s the second such tragedy at the pub. News Channel 5 reported a 25-year-old Rockland man was killed after falling off the deck in June 2015. The Portland wrongful death lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates represented that victim’s family in a wrongful death settlement. That lawsuit was settled, and additional safety precautions were taken, including the removal of the picnic tables from which the first victim fell.
In this latest incident, police and the pub owner contend the man jumped.
“Took a few steps and he leapt headfirst right off the deck,” the pub owner was quoted as saying. He said the most recent victim was not served any drinks by pub staff before falling.
To make a negligence claim after a fall accident in Maine, the plaintiff must show a property owner failed to exercise reasonable care to keep a property reasonably safe. The plaintiff also has a duty to exercise ordinary care. Business owner defenses can include that the defendant exercised reasonable care, that the property owner was unaware of the risk, that the danger was open and obvious, that the plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable care, or that the defendant did not cause the condition and took reasonable care to avoid creating dangerous conditions.
In cases like this, with the danger of an open-air balcony at height, there may be an argument that the risks were open and obvious. However, it is also foreseeable that a business that serves alcohol may often deal with customers whose decision-making is impaired.
A wrongful death claim in Maine may be made under 18-A M.R.S.A. §2-804 by a victim’s family members. Losses may include pecuniary loss resulting from the death, medical and funeral expenses, up to $500,000 for loss of comfort and companionship, up to $250,000 in punitive damages when appropriate, and damages for the conscious suffering of the decedent.
These accidents are also common on elevated porches of old homes and apartments, particularly around colleges and universities where many students are likely to congregate, increasing the chances that age or structural defect may cause a collapse. Several years ago, six people were injured after a second-floor balcony collapsed at a Biddeford apartment.
In 2015, a Portland porch collapse killed a tenant at an 11-unit apartment building on Cumberland Avenue. Code inspectors found a number of safety violations, according to the Press Herald. Police believe the 53-year-old victim fell 20 feet to the parking lot after a railing collapsed as he was leaning against it. The property owner later removed all of the porches from the building.
In these types of cases, property owners and property managers have a duty to tenants to make sure such elevated structures are sound and in good repair.
If you have been injured in Portland, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
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