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Shapiro & Appleton

Toddler Falls From Norfolk, VA Hotel Balcony

Yet another horrific 2011 balcony accident has occurred in Hampton Roads, Virginia (VA), this time injuring a boy who is just 2 years old. The Virginian-Pilot has reported that the toddler fell from a second floor balcony at a Ramada Inn on Military Highway in Norfolk. The boy was taken to Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and listed is in critical but stable condition.

This accident comes on the heels of another toddler's death in June after the child falling off a fifth floor balcony at a hotel at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Another death occurred just 48 hours after that one at another Oceanfront hotel when a 33-year-old man fell nine stories from his room's balcony.

These accidents reveal just how dangerous hotel balconies can be. Though hotels place safety rails around outdoor spaces, those barriers are clearly not preventing as many falls as they should be. VA state building codes specify the minimum distance between balcony railings and safe heights for balcony railings. Falling from outdoor decks and balconies almost always results in serious injury or death, so this spike in balcony accidents in Hampton Roads is truly chilling. So many tourists visit our community for a relaxing vacation, and should not have to worry about such dangers.

Our condolences go out to all the families affected by the balcony accidents, and our thoughts are with the little boy recovering at CHKD. As a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney, I can only hope that these accidents will raise awareness about the dangers of hotel balconies, and allow such safety problems to be identified and resolved as soon as possible. These same problems with railing heights apply at sports stadiums where falls have also occurred and safety officials are re-evaluating safety railings and barriers to prevent falls.

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Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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