Building Collapse Accidents
Construction sites are fundamentally dangerous, with heavy machinery, hazardous materials and unstable structures. Construction workers and site visitors face a number of risks, but building collapse may be the biggest danger they encounter. A building collapse can cause numerous devastating injuries to those in the building, as well as any passersby in the area, who might be hit with falling debris.
Causes of Building Collapse
Construction work in and of itself can affect the integrity of a structure. There are a number of other factors that could contribute to a building collapse, including:
- Age or deterioration
- Contact with heavy machinery
- Damaged or improperly constructed foundation
- Demolition work
- Excessive weight on the structure
- Fire or explosion
- Inferior building materials
- Poor design or construction
- Poor roofing quality
- Water infiltration
- Weak soil or inadequate soil preparation
- Weather conditions
Depending on the cause, a building collapse can occur in two different ways. The first is an inward collapse, which occurs when internal structural elements fail. The walls of the structure will collapse in on themselves, creating a dense but relatively contained pile of debris. An explosion or extreme weather condition can cause the building to collapse outward and scatter debris over a large area.
Types of Injuries Resulting from Building Collapse
In either case, workers or visitors who are inside the structure are in danger of being trapped by the collapsing structure, and may suffer severe or fatal injuries. Any workers who are on ladders or scaffolding outside the building are likely to be seriously injured in a fall. Falling debris can cause injury to anyone in the area, including people in nearby buildings. These injuries are often severe enough to require long-term medical care and can result in permanent disability or death.
After the initial collapse, a construction site becomes even more dangerous, as there may be additional hazards caused by the collapse. A secondary collapse can occur if part of the structure remains and debris may continue to fall. A collapse can expose live wires and broken glass. Victims of the collapse may also be exposed to hazardous materials, particularly if natural gas lines or sanitary sewer systems have been damaged.
Liability in Building Collapse Accidents
Given the nature of construction sites, it is easy to assume that a collapse accident could not be avoided. Often this is not the case, however, even if there are external factors such as weather changes. In order to determine the cause of a building collapse, an extensive investigation is required. Investigators must examine the building design, construction plans, contracts and invoices, physical evidence at the scene and eyewitness testimony.
In these cases, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault for the building collapse accident. A thorough investigation can reveal whether negligent behavior on the part of the property owner, property manager, architect, engineer, general contractor or sub-contractor, construction manager, equipment manufacturer or manufacturer of defective materials was responsible for the collapse. Construction workers or site visitors who are injured in a building collapse may be able to pursue a third party liability claim against one or more of these parties.
Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Building Collapse Victims Obtain Compensation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a building collapse accident, our Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help. Our legal team will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault for you injuries. We have the knowledge and experience to prepare a sound legal strategy to get you the compensation you deserve to cover costly medical treatments, lost wages and pain and suffering.
With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey we help construction accident victims throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Call us today at 215-426-4493 or contact us online for a free consultation with a qualified construction accident lawyer.