A Florida high-rise that collapsed early Thursday was determined to be unstable a year ago, according to a researcher at Florida International University. The building, which was constructed in 1981, has been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s, according to a study in 2020 by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment. (Source: USA Today)
Please contact one of our lawyers at (786) 699-8630 if you have questions. Residents and visitors to a building, including those that may be staying there temporarily, such as on vacation, have an expectation to feel safe in the dwelling. If you were injured or lost a loved one when a condo collapsed, contact the structural collapse attorneys at VG Law today to discuss your injuries.
Residents and visitors to a building should trust that the dwelling is safe. When a building collapses, the results are devastating. In addition to the property damage, residents, visitors and guests of the building may sustain significant injuries and even loss of life. Commercial and residential property owners have the responsibility to provide a safe structure and environment for residents, visitors and other guests to the property. Any time a dwelling collapses, the injuries may be substantial; when the building is residential with hundreds - even thousands - of tenants, the losses are catastrophic.
Structures are required to adhere to building regulations and codes; they should not just collapse. They must also be reinspected at periodic intervals to ensure that the dwellings are still structurally sound and safe and there are no construction defects. Faulty construction, improper or poor maintenance, and design or structural flaws may contribute to the collapse of a condo, apartment, business office or other building. If these industry regulations are not met and there is structural failure, residents, employees, contractors and other visitors to the structure may be put at risk.
When a building is built near an ocean, bay or other body of salt water, their integrity may be compromised by salt water oxidation weakening parts of the building. Buildings that are built on reclaimed land may compact over time, which can result in shifts in the ground under the building. It may also impact the foundation. The shifts may also occur at different points under the same building, resulting in differential settlement. These shifts may impact a building and cause the structure to sink. This sinking process may accelerate or decelerate over time. In 2020, Florida International University published a study on land displacement in the area of the Champlain Towers, a building that collapsed in the Miami Beach area in 2021. According to a USA Today article, a professor in the University’s Department of Earth and Environment indicated that the study showed the Champlain Towers South condo had been sinking since the 1990’s. While it has not been proven that this caused the collapse, the study indicates that the sinking may have impacted the building and caused unusual movement.
When a building or other structure collapses, there may be multiple parties that may be considered negligent if they did not reasonably uphold their specific duty. Construction companies, architects and engineers may be partially liable when these accidents occur. A building collapse lawyer can work with accident reconstruction experts, structural engineers, investigators, witnesses and other experts to identify construction defects or other issues that may have contributed to a construction accident or when a building collapses. Florida Statute 768.0425 discusses “Damages in actions against contractors for injuries sustained from negligence, malfeasance, or misfeasance,” or what types of damages an injured party can pursue if a hired contractor’s negligence can be proved to have caused the collapse.
If you were injured when a building collapsed, or lost a loved one, you may be eligible to receive compensation for injuries, lost wages, future lost earnings, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, future medical costs, funeral costs and non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Survivors of a building collapse or the families of may file suit against the owners of the building and/or the companies involved with the building, design and maintenance of the property as multiple entities may be liable for the accident.
Residents and visitors to a building, including those that may be staying there temporarily, such as on vacation, have an expectation to feel safe in the dwelling. If you were injured or lost a loved one when a condo collapsed, contact the structural collapse attorneys at VG Law today to discuss your injuries.