Who Is Responsible If A Building Collapses?

Who Is Responsible If A Building Collapses?

Building collapses can have tragic consequences. People who live or work in buildings with construction defects can sustain catastrophic injuries or lose their lives in a building collapse. With the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex in Surfside, Florida, awareness about the dangers of construction mistakes and inadequate maintenance has come to the forefront. The deaths of 98 people in the collapse have led to multiple lawsuits against the building’s condo association, inspectors, and other potentially liable parties. If you have been injured or have lost your loved one in a building collapse, you should talk to an experienced attorney at Raynes & Lawn.

Red Flags

The Champlain Towers building collapse demonstrated that mistakes and shortcuts made during design, construction, inspection, and maintenance can combine and result in devastating outcomes. Even though some parties understand that the tenants in a building are at risk, they might still fail to act.

For example, the condo association received an engineering report in 2018 that reported major structural damage in the pool area and the parking garage. While the report recommended immediate repairs were needed, some of the residents balked at the estimated cost of $9 million. Two months prior to the collapse, the condo association’s president warned her neighbors that the deterioration of the concrete was accelerating, and the estimated costs had then risen to more than $16 million.

Several families have filed lawsuits against the condo association’s board, arguing that the condo association knew about or should reasonably have known about the structural problems but failed to repair them, allegedly resulting in injuries, property losses, and wrongful death.

While the legal process will take time, it should eventually reveal the causes of the building collapse and the responsible parties. This collapse has raised serious concerns about the safety of buildings across the U.S., and some cities have ordered other buildings to be vacated due to safety concerns.

Who Is Liable In A Building Collapse?

Cases involving building collapses are complex. Multiple parties might be liable, and the records can stretch back decades. Some of the potentially liable parties might include the following:

  • Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Architects
  • Builders
  • Engineers
  • Inspectors
  • Condo boards/others responsible for maintenance and repairs

Other parties might also be liable. A personal injury attorney will need to carefully investigate a building collapse to determine liability. The attorneys at Raynes & Lawn work with investigators and construction and engineering experts to understand all of the causes leading to a building collapse so that the responsible parties can be identified and held accountable.

Damages In A Building Collapse

People who are injured and the close family members of those who are killed because of the negligence of others are entitled to pursue monetary compensation through a premises liability or wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the types of damages that might be recoverable in a building collapse claim include the following:

  • Past and future expected medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Property losses
  • Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death claims
  • Loss of the victim’s income he or she would have earned if he or she had lived in wrongful death claims
  • Loss of consortium or guidance
  • Other losses

Why You Should Seek Legal Help

To recover compensation, you will have to prove that your injuries or your loved one’s death were caused by the negligence of another person or entity. Since building collapses are complex and can involve multiple responsible parties, identifying everyone who should be named as a defendant in your lawsuit can be difficult. However, if you fail to identify one or more responsible parties, you might not be able to recover all of the compensation to which you should otherwise be entitled.

An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to investigate these types of complex cases to identify all of the potentially liable parties. Seeking help from a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a catastrophic incident might increase your chances of recovering full compensation for your losses.

While some people are understandably hesitant about contacting an attorney soon after a building collapse, doing so can allow your lawyer to have more time to investigate the case and preserve evidence that could otherwise be lost as time passes.

Each state and the District of Columbia has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. In the District of Columbia, it is three years. If you wait too long to file your claim, it might be time-barred, preventing you from recovering compensation for the losses you have suffered. You should also avoid waiting until just before the deadline for your claim. Contacting an attorney soon after a building collapse might allow him or her more time to conduct a thorough investigation and build a stronger claim on your behalf.

Some people worry that they will not be able to afford an attorney, especially when they have lost everything they own and are contending with mounting expenses and income losses. However, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not have to pay anything upfront. Your attorney will only be paid for his or her legal fees if he or she recovers compensation for you through a settlement or verdict.

Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have lost your loved one in a building collapse or have sustained serious injuries, you should reach out to the experienced legal team at Raynes & Lawn. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience handling complex personal injury claims and are prepared to discuss your case and its legal merits with you. Call us today to request a free consultation at 1-800-535-1797.

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