April 14, 2012, ERIE, PA — A Gannon student was seriously injured last night in a fall from the second story balcony of a fraternity house. To a Pennsylvania property liability lawyer, the accident raises important questions of legal responsibility.
The young man, whose identity has not been published, was at the Gannon Alpha Phi Delta fraternity house in the 200 block of West Third Street. Reportedly, he was near a second floor railing and jumping up and down when he lost his balance and fell 17 feet to the ground below.
The early reports of his injuries are concerning. His condition at the scene was described as critical and it is believed he may have gone into cardiac arrest.
From the perspective of an Erie property liability attorney, Erie’s older housing presents with common and recurring problems. Often, the structures are not built to current code safety requirements and the hazards they pose are exacerbated by the fact that students, many times, are the tenants at such properties.
While it is commonly believed that these older buildings are not subject to code requirements due to “grandfather” clauses, the truth is more complicated. There are, indeed, “grandfather” clauses in today’s building codes but there are also code provisions that can require safety updates whenever there are improvements made to the building. There may also be special requirements that apply to residential lessors. As a result, the investigation into injuries on Pennsylvania properties must be both careful and thorough and performed by a Pennsylvania property defect lawyer with knowledge of Erie’s building code requirements.
Our thoughts are with the injured young man and his family.