Building Collapse Lawyer on Long Island
Every time you step inside a building, you put faith in the fact that the property was designed, created, and maintained in the safest manner possible. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes buildings are not properly cared for, and as time moves on, they become less stable. Other times, buildings are simply not built correctly to begin with. When one of these situations takes place, a building collapse can occur.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a building collapse, Shulman & Hill is ready to help you. We can work on your behalf, pursuing compensation as you heal from your injuries. The damage resulting from a total or partial building collapse can be devastating. If you have been injured in such an event, contact our Long Island building collapse attorneys today. Call 516.613.3196.
How Our Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
Our workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys serving Long Island can be invaluable as we fight on your behalf for fair compensation following a building collapse. If the accident occurred during construction, they could guide you through the entire workers’ compensation process. Our team can also assist you with an injury lawsuit if we find another party was the cause of the accident. We can prepare for any defenses that the insurance company may try to present.
To receive compensation, you must prove that another party was liable for your injuries. At Shulman & Hill, we can review the circumstances surrounding your construction accident and gather evidence to prove who was at fault.
If you communicated the problem, all messages can be reviewed to determine if action was taken quickly enough. We can review all building documentation to show whether the contractor, subcontractor, or another party should be held responsible.
If you suffered injuries while on the job, you will be eligible to receive medical care and a portion of your regular pay with a workers’ compensation claim. You may also qualify for a third-party lawsuit. In a third-party lawsuit, you may pursue compensation for medical costs, lost pay, but also pain and suffering. You should not be made to pay anything for injuries that were out of your control.
Because building collapses tend to happen in locations that we frequent, or even the places we live, it can be very difficult to live as normally as you did before the accident. When this happens, you could be entitled to compensation for the trauma you have suffered.
Defining Building Collapse
Structurally speaking, a building collapse is either total or partial. A total building collapse is rarer than a partial collapse. However, when a total building collapse occurs, the results can be catastrophic for the victims caught inside.
A building collapse is considered a partial when just one area of the building drops. This could mean that a floor, ceiling, stairwell, or even an entire wing of a building collapses. The results of such incidents can be equally as devastating as that of a total building collapse. The scope of the collapse is not as relevant as those caught and injured by the incident.
Causes of Building Collapses
Building collapses can happen anytime, whether during construction, renovations, or when a building is already completed and occupied. Most of the time, building collapses occur because the property has not been properly maintained or because the construction site is not being properly managed. There are instances when the cause stems from an engineering error during the construction. Spalling rebar, wrong concrete, and improper loads are just a few examples of poor engineering and construction that can lead to a collapse.
Rust, Mold, and Water Leaks
Rust, mold, and water leaks can cause a building to lose its strength, leading to collapse. These conditions are often noticeable, and when they are very prominent, they should be treated as emergencies. Left untreated, they could lead to the erosion of the building’s structural integrity with ceilings and floors collapsing, producing dangerous results.
If you notice a water leak, you should inform your supervisor or the property manager immediately. The problem must be remedied as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.
Weak foundations, poorly implemented construction materials, and bad building materials are all examples of poor construction. If the foundation of the building is not properly set, then it could shift over time, which will lead to it falling.
Poor quality materials and poor implementation can cause a building to deteriorate more quickly or have poor integrity from the start. It is important that all building materials are of the highest quality and used properly during construction.
Natural occurrences such as hurricanes, seawater, other weather phenomena, and poor soil conditions can lead to a building’s deterioration and collapse. Buildings are more often built with weatherproof materials these days, but accidents still happen.
While Mother Nature will never be held liable for an accident, if construction crews used sub-par materials or built on dangerous land, then they could be held accountable if weather leads to a collapse. Areas with a high risk of weather-related incidents have protocols that must be followed by construction teams to ensure complete structural integrity.
Common Injuries in a Building Collapse
Building collapses can produce a variety of injuries, usually severe. Because of the nature of a building collapse, tons of material can collapse and fall on everything below them. When someone sets up their apartment or office, they’re generally not thinking about what would happen if the ceiling or floor collapsed. Any collapse can lead to someone being crushed by heavy materials.
Injuries may include:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputated limbs
- Inhalation of toxic chemicals
In addition, a person could suffer death from being crushed or suffocating. If this occurs, the surviving family members and dependents of the deceased party are entitled to financial compensation.
Who Is Responsible for a Building Collapse?
The cause of a building collapse will play a large factor in determining who is liable. Determining liability is integral to a successful case. Parties that could be held liable include:
- Building manager or landlord
- General contractor
- Engineers and architects
- Demolition contractor
It is important to determine whether or not the problem was preventable or foreseeable. Also, multiple parties could be held responsible for a building collapse, as both design and construction can lead to a building collapsing.
Building Collapse Settlements
Building collapse settlements vary greatly. Determining factors include the severity of the collapse, the type of building, and how many people were injured or killed. Earlier this year, a judge approved a $1.2 billion settlement for the survivors and families of those who were involved in the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse.
While this is a very large settlement, compensation earned from building collapses tends to be high because of the severity of the situation.
Building Collapse Statistics
Total building collapses are very rare in the United States, and when they do occur, they generally happen in areas susceptible to water damage or earthquakes. In 2021, 98 people were killed, and one was injured when the Champlain Towers South condominium collapsed in Surfside, Florida. It was one of the deadliest building collapses ever recorded in the United States.
In Long Island, you are much more likely to be part of a partial building collapse than a total one. While data suggests that even partial building collapses are not a prominent Long Island concern, they do happen.
Some recent collapses in Long Island include:
- In August of 2019, a building collapsed in East Farmingdale, causing damage to vehicles, though no one was hurt.
- In March of 2021, a roof collapsed at Long Island City Best Buy. Again, no one was injured, though there was damage to vehicles.
- In June 2017, a Long Island City apartment tower construction site collapsed partially, injuring six workers.
Contact the Building Collapse Attorneys of Shulman & Hill Today
Whether you are in your home, your place of work, or any other building on Long Island, you should be safe. However, there are times when problems can arise, leading to sudden and sometimes fatal building collapses. These incidents should never happen, as safety features and proper maintenance should be the utmost priority of all construction teams and landlords. Yet, if you suffer injuries or a family member dies in a building collapse, you are entitled to financial compensation.
At Shulman & Hill, we can work on your behalf to determine liability, assess damages, and seek fair compensation. You should not be held financially responsible for the error of other parties. If you have been injured in a building collapse, contact our team for legal help. Call our Long Island, NY building collapse team today at 516.613.3196 or contact us online.
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