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St. Patrick’s Day Deck Collapse at Rogue Water Tap House in Savannah, Ga. Sends 14 People to the Hospital

St. Patrick’s Day Deck Collapse at Rogue Water Tap House in Savannah, Ga. Sends 14 People to the HospitalOn Saturday, March 17, a deck at the Rogue Water Tap House on MLK Jr. Boulevard and West Congress Street in Savannah, Ga. collapsed, falling 12 feet onto an outside seating area below and sending 14 people to the hospital – two with serious injuries. Per WTOC, Chatham EMS were on the scene within minutes, securing the site and helping the injured.

The scenario could have been far worse. Savannah hosts the country’s second-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. When the deck collapse occurred, the parade had ended a few hours earlier, and the weekend-long festivities were in full swing throughout downtown Savannah. Because the holiday fell on a Saturday, the parade committee’s general chairman told CNN that almost half a million people were expected to attend this year.

Chris Clarke, the owner of the Rogue Water Tap House, released the following statement on Saturday night:

We are deeply saddened by the terrible incident that occurred today during a time of celebration in our city. Our thoughts are with those injured and impacted.

The safety of our customers and staff are of the utmost importance and we have been working closely and cooperating fully with the City of Savannah Fire Marshal and building inspector.

Since this tragic incident, the bar has reopened for business, however, many facts remain unknown regarding the cause and responsibility for the collapse. An investigation into this incident is ongoing.

Extensive legal experience with deck failures

The legal team at Harris Lowry Manton LLP has significant experience advocating on behalf of clients whose loved ones have been injured or even killed as a result of deck failures.

In fact, partner Steve Lowry recently contributed an expert column about deck and railing failures to SavannahNow. In his column, Lowry explained that only about 40% of home decks are estimated to be safe. Furthermore, “According to the North American Deck and Railing Association [“NADRA”], deck failures and resulting injuries are on the rise, with more than 40,000 decks in the United States considered unsafe and in need of repair…. When a deck collapses, NADRA reports, more than 75% of people are typically injured or killed.”

In these instances, time is of the essence, as evidence needs to be collected and documented in order to determine the cause of a structural failure.

“We have investigated many construction defect cases involving catastrophic injures,” Lowry explained. “It’s important for families dealing with injuries from a collapsed deck to get assistance from lawyers who can make sure all the evidence is documented in order to hold those responsible for the cause of the collapse.”

Deck collapses are more common than you might think

What happened at Rogue Water Tap House might seem like a fluke, but in truth, deck collapses are surprisingly common. Since 2003, “an estimated 6,500 people have been rushed to emergency rooms with injuries from collapsing balconies and porches, while 29… have been killed since 2003,” the Chicago Tribune reports. According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission analysis for The Associated Press, about 4,600 people have visited an ER because of injuries sustained a deck collapse.

What happened on St. Patrick’s Day at Rogue Water Tap House was terrible, and it could happen anywhere. Harris Lowry Manton LLP urges you to exercise caution when you are seated outside or when placing your full weight on a deck. If you have an outdoor deck or porch that is more than 20 years old, as so many Georgia homes do, consider scheduling an inspection to ensure that you are safe and sound on your own property, as well.

We wish all of the people who were hurt a speedy and safe recovery. Once again, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our first responders in Chatham County and to the Savannah Fire Department for working so quickly to get people to safety, and to help the injured seek treatment.

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