New Jersey Building Collapse Lawyers

Building Collapse Attorneys New Jersey.In June 2021, a building collapse in Miami, Florida from Champlain Towers South condominium, made news for killing many people. It was not the first of its kind, and certainly will not be the last. Disasters such as these are not always fatal. Even so, at Livingston DiMarzio, LLP, we understand how devastating building collapses are for victims and their families.

Although they are considered freak accidents, you cannot ever count yourself out of such an occurrence, especially if you work in construction. Workers usually have no way of telling when it could happen. Not every building collapse receives the time and media attention that the Miami building collapse received. They are more common than we might think or give credit for.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a building collapse accident while on the job, you should seek legal counsel in a workers’ compensation lawyer.

For accidents involving death, filing a wrongful death claim may help you recover workers’ compensation benefits.

What Causes a Building to Collapse?

While buildings are erected with the aim that they will last many years, many simply do not reach the intended longevity that they should.

Common reasons for collapses go unnoticed even by professionals in the industry. Warning signs go unheeded or ignored, and people are put at risk. Some common issues that can lead to harmful building collapses are:

Weak Foundations

Foundations can cost up to half the price of a building. Some developers may choose to use more inexpensive foundations to save money. On unsteady land, this could be a problem. For example, many parts of Florida are swampy and have a high water table. For buildings without strong foundations, this could pose an issue.

Ineffective Building Materials

Building materials that may be inexpensive may also be used as a cost-saving measure. These could include smaller nails, joist hangers and wooden sheets, inadequate piping, and wood of a lesser quality.

Worker Error

Workers not professionally trained or supervised could make mistakes during the building process, such as mixing the concrete incorrectly. Human error is always a possibility.

Heavier than Expected Load

Sometimes, the load is too heavy for a building to be able to withstand. Adding additional floors or stories to a building not initially constructed with that intent could cause a collapse. This could be especially true for the addition of heavy items in such a building, such as a library where books are piled up.

Forgoing Strength Testing

Laws mandate that the strength of a building be tested during stages of the building process. If this crucial step is ignored, the building may not survive long.[1]

Failing to Review Potential Hazards

During demolition, there is almost always uncertainty. Failure to survey the area and reduce risks before demolition can be disastrous. The operation of heavy machinery can be a source for these types of accidents.

Natural Disaster

Depending on the area, some buildings are more equipped to withstand natural disasters, such as earthquakes, than others. Seismic building codes are followed in the construction of newer buildings. As such, older buildings are at greater risk of structural damage and injuring people during and after an earthquake. Other natural disasters such as severe storms can cause structures to collapse.

Deterioration

Older buildings are at greater risk of deterioration, especially if they have not been properly renovated, maintained, and kept up-to-code.

Explosions or Fires

A gas leak if left unattended can cause explosions or fires within a building. You may be able to tell if there is a gas leak if:

  • You smell sulfur or rotten eggs.
  • Hear a hissing or whistling sound in the proximity of a gas line.
  • Witness a damaged connection to a gas line.
  • See a white cloud, blowing dust, or bubbles in still water.
  • See deceased plants that are dead for no reason.[2]

Water Infiltration

The potential for moisture to seep inside a building and cause water damage can eventually erode the architecture, causing a collapse.

Faulty Soil Preparation

Perhaps there is inadequate depth to the soil beneath the building, or the soil quality is poor, which could be due to a variety of factors including:

  • Reclaimed soil, which could be from recent landfills from the sea or wet soil originating from riverbeds or lake beds.
  • Corrosive soil that happens to contain chemicals such as sulfur or chloride, which can react with the concrete to lead to an unstable foundation. Saltwater also tends to corrode materials, which may have been the case in the Champlain Towers South condominium.
  • Soil liquefaction, a process by which the strength and stiffness of the soil deteriorates due to ground shaking, leading the soil to act as a viscous liquid temporarily.[3]

These reasons relating to soil could be due to an inadequate or lack of a soil investigation on the building grounds on behalf of a construction company.[4]

Dangers of Building Collapses

Building collapse accidents and falling materials often have terrible consequences. What is hard to accept is that most of them are preventable. Too often, safety violations were incurred and left unaccounted for.

Some examples of injuries sustained by victims of building collapse accidents include:

  • Amputations
  • Asphyxia
  • Burns
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Concussions
  • Crushed limbs
  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • PTSD

Case Example

The following is an example of a case we prosecuted against a construction company.

“A project manager was working on a roof when an overlying structure collapsed, pinning him between the roof and truss. The petitioner suffered severe nerve damage, fractured leg bones, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Subsequent to the conclusion of treatment we argued that the petitioner was totally and permanently disabled and secured him disability benefits totaling $281,544.”

Why Choose Livingston DiMarzio, LLP?

If you or a loved one have been in a building collapse accident while working, it can be very overwhelming. You may be left with traumatic and debilitating injuries. You may not know how to press forward or what needs to be done. Some of our attorneys’ greatest qualities are the ability to guide you through a difficult period such as this.

Our team of certified workers’ compensation lawyers are experienced with all types of workplace accidents and know how to build the strongest case for your claim. We take pride in representing our clients. Contact Livingston DiMarzio, LLP today for a free consultation at (973) 943-4106, or feel free to fill out a case form and we will contact you.


[1] “Five Reasons Why Buildings Collapse.” BBC News, BBC, 5 May 2016, www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-36205324.

[2] Sampson, Stacy. “What Symptoms Can a Gas Leak Cause?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 22 Feb. 2017, www.healthline.com/health/gas-leak-symptoms.

[3] “Soil Liquefaction.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/science/soil-liquefaction.

[4] Patel, Ritesh. “Reasons for Building Collapse Due to the Foundation Failures.” GharPedia, GharPedia, 29 Jan. 2018, gharpedia.com/blog/building-collapse-due-to-foundation-failures/.

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