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Building collapses are severe and complex legal matters. These occurrences are dangerous, deadly, and life-altering, and those responsible for these accidents must be held accountable. The victims of these accidents must receive justice for their pain and suffering.

When you’ve been in such an accident, you need legal representation from a relentless and formidable personal injury attorney. Contact our building collapse lawyers in New York City today.

collapsed building

Understanding premises liability

Because building collapse claims are a type of premises liability claim, before discussing building collapses and the legal implications, it’s essential to understand premises liability. Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners and occupiers responsible for specific injuries and accidents on their property. The basic idea is that property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors and guests, and if they fail to do so, they may be held liable for any resulting harm.

Examples of premises liability cases include the following:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Injuries caused by hazardous conditions on the property, such as building collapse
  • Attacks by animals kept on the property

Building collapse occurs because someone was negligent in either constructing or maintaining it. Negligence is a legal concept that refers to the failure of a person or entity to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to another person.

Common causes and injuries associated with building collapse

Through other professionals' help, lawyers will investigate why a building collapses, including:

  • A weak foundation that cannot support the weight of the structure
  • The building holds more load than it was initially designed for
  • Construction errors, inadequate contractor supervision, and the weight of the machinery used to build the structure
  • Low-quality building materials
  • Structural damage
  • Explosions or fires from defective electrical and gas systems
  • Natural disasters such as strong winds, storms, fires, and earthquakes

When a building collapses, victims can sustain severe injuries requiring hospitalizations, long-term treatments, surgeries, and medical leave of absence from work or school. Some of the most common injuries from a building collapse include:

  • Brain injuries 
  • Crush injuries, such as broken bones, bruising, bleeding, and compartment syndrome
  • Suffocation 
  • Amputated limbs 
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis 
  • Death

Determining legal liability for building collapse in New York

New York City maintains strict building codes and regulations to ensure the safety of buildings and their occupants. For example, beginning last year, parking garages in parts of Manhattan were required to undergo structural inspections and file reports with the city by the end of 2023, with additional checks at least once every six years.

Failure to follow NYC building codes and labor laws properly might cause a catastrophic collapse. Once it is established what caused the defect that led to the accident, your NYC building collapse lawyer will look at the contracts to determine who is to blame. Some of the parties that may be liable include:

  • General contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Demolition companies
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Material suppliers
  • Manufacturers of defective materials or tools

Property owners could be held liable for injuries or damages caused by the collapse if they owned the building or the property the building was on. An example would be if the building had no construction defects, but the property owner neglected it to the point that it developed defects, ultimately causing the collapse. Property owners have a legal duty to ensure their building is safe for the occupants and passersby.

Attorney talking with a client

Compensation for building collapse victims

Building collapse victims may receive a damages award if injured on someone else's property due to the owner's negligence or failure to maintain safe conditions. This damages award may include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Other related costs

What needs to be proved to file?

To pursue personal injury compensation, the injured party typically must file a claim or lawsuit against the party responsible for their injuries. They must also be able to prove that:

  • The other party had a duty of care
  • The other party breached that duty
  • The breach caused the injuries or damages suffered that must be compensated

The amount of compensation that a person may receive in a personal injury case will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, as well as the applicable laws and regulations in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. It is essential to consult a qualified personal injury attorney to determine the best action for seeking compensation and ensure their rights are protected throughout the legal process.

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