A building collapse can devastate families and lives in an instant. Because of the heavy weight of building materials and the sudden nature of the damage, a building collapse can cause catastrophic injuries and even death. When a sudden, devastating failure occurs, it can be hard to know what to do first. Our personal injury lawyers in Denver explain catastrophic injuries from a building collapse.
Can You Bring a Lawsuit for a Catastrophic Building Collapse?
Yes, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit for a catastrophic building collapse. If the damage results from negligent actions or even the inaction of a responsible party, they may be liable to pay damages. Regardless of the direct cause of the accident, there may be subtle ways that the accident is the fault of a building owner, manager, designer or other parties. To bring a claim, you must have damages that result from the collapse and bring your claim by the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Causes of a Building Collapse
The causes of building collapse may include:
- Faulty building design
- Construction errors and poor construction workmanship
- Foundation failures
- Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and other natural disasters
- Soil settlements, erosion and liquefaction
- Improper maintenance
- Inadequate training or supervision on a construction site
- Structure fires
Even though tall buildings are commonplace today, they are still complex. Even what may seem like a minor error may cause a structure to fail. For example, cracks in floors and ceilings may be a sign of danger from soil settlement. If a designer fails to plan carefully, a building may not be able to withstand heavy loads. Poor planning may make the structure inadequate to withstand a natural disaster that is impossible to predict but likely to happen at some point.
Determining the Cause of a Building Collapse
When you consider who is responsible for damages from a building collapse, it’s essential to look for secondary contributors and underlying causes. Even if a building falls because the soil settles or because there is shifting ground, the actual problem may be in the foundation and design of the building to withstand the changing circumstances.
In addition, a building may fail because operators allow too many people to crowd into the building or because they bring heavy equipment into the building that it is not meant to withstand. As a victim investigating your legal claim, it’s important to look beyond the immediate cause of the accident. There may be secondary or underlying causes that change the landscape of legal liability when claiming compensation for the victim.
Who May Be Legally Responsible for a Building Collapse?
Any of the following parties may be responsible for a building collapse:
- Building designer – A person or group that designs a building must use reasonable skill and caution in their work. They must design the structure according to applicable codes and keep with their professional training and accepted practices. When a collapse occurs, the building designer may be legally responsible if professional malpractice is a contributing factor.
- Construction workers, including general contractors and subcontractors – Those involved in the construction industry must use reasonable care in their work. They must provide the appropriate working equipment, safety protections and personnel. They must hire, train and supervise workers accordingly. If they fail to follow designs, use appropriate materials or otherwise make negligent errors, they may be legally responsible if there is a problem later.
- Owners of the building – Even once a building is complete, the building owners have a responsibility to the occupants. If they fail to perform adequate maintenance, ignore signs of distress or otherwise fail in their duties to sufficiently upkeep the property, they may face legal liability.
- Occupants of the building – People who rent or otherwise occupy a building have an obligation to act with the safety of others in mind. For example, if a business that operates a restaurant or club allows too many people on a balcony at one time, it may fail. The business may be the entity at fault. Similarly, a building occupant may create a hazardous condition that causes a fire. The fire, in turn, may cause building collapse. The occupant may be legally responsible for the damages that result from their negligent actions.
- Other individuals – A person who intentionally causes harm that results in a collapse is legally responsible to the victims for damages.
Faulty Building Lawsuits
A faulty building lawsuit is a claim for compensation based on a dangerous condition that causes harm to a victim. Injuries are often catastrophic. The victims and their families suffer devastating consequences.
There are several reasons to bring a faulty building lawsuit. The primary purpose is compensation for the victim and their families. The resulting financial judgment represents a measure of justice for the victims and their families and accountability for what happened. The wrongdoers have to publicly answer for what occurred and the harm that they caused. In addition, bringing a legal action may result in positive changes in the future that protect others.
Damages From a Building Collapse Lawsuit
Damages that you may claim from a building collapse lawsuit include:
- Medical bills
- Final expenses
- Emergency care
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Survivor benefits
- Emotional anguish
- Punitive damages
The compensation that you may receive for a building collapse lawsuit is meant to be a comprehensive treatment of all of the losses and damages that the victim and their family suffer because of the accident. Because the damages are typically catastrophic, a victim’s compensation should be a significant amount that fully reflects the harm and suffering endured. An attorney can help you ensure that no categories of compensation are overturned as you pursue justice.
Attorneys for Catastrophic Injuries From a Building Collapse
If you or your family has been impacted by a building collapse, contact the personal injury law firm of Bachus & Schanker, LLC. Our Elite Litigation Group is a team of specially chosen, experienced attorneys dedicated to helping victims with catastrophic injuries or complex legal issues. You deserve the skills, resources, and support our team of senior attorneys can provide to help you through this personally and legally challenging time. Contact our team today to talk about your case.