There are many older buildings in the New York area. As a result, it’s very possible to be living in a building that is at risk of leaks, roofing problems, and even ceiling collapses. This is a serious issue that can leave you dealing with significant damages and personal injury. If you or someone you know is in this kind of situation, it’s imperative to speak with a Brooklyn personal injury attorney about your rights and the steps you can take in order to be rightfully compensated for your injuries.
What Might Cause a Ceiling to Collapse?
Sturdy ceilings in Brooklyn and other New York City buildings are built to last. However, it is possible there may be defects in the foundation or roofing, which can result in a ceiling not being as strong as envisioned. This could happen when a building is very old or when a defect is overlooked by the construction team.
A ceiling collapse could happen for the following reasons:
• Improper maintenance or no maintenance at all
• Weather damage including high wind, snow, or ice
• Wall failure and pressure from the attic
• Pipe leaks in the ceiling
• Improper support in the ceiling
• Violations of building code in the construction
• Damage from termites or other pests
• Damaged ceiling supports
• Items stored on drywall instead of joists in the attic
Property owners are required to ensure that their buildings are up to safety standards. If a problem occurs and the ceiling collapses, it can result in serious injuries, which means the property owner or landlord would be held liable. At the same time, liability depends on the reason behind the ceiling collapse. Your accident lawyer can determine whether you have a valid case.
What Kind of Injuries Can Occur Due to a Ceiling Collapse?
If a ceiling collapses, it creates a dangerous situation in more than one way. The building is exposed to the elements and has no cover. The collapse can also result in pieces of the ceiling falling on top of people inside the building, causing serious injuries. When a ceiling collapses, debris can fall inward and it can cause head, neck, or back injuries. A person can even suffer an eye injury if debris gets into their eye or strikes an eye.
Slip and fall accidents are also common after a ceiling collapse. It’s common for a person to lose their balance while slipping on wet debris, falling, or suffering cuts, contusions, sprains, and strains. If the fall is bad enough, they might even suffer a fracture or a wound bad enough that requires stitches.
Liability in a Ceiling Collapse Accident
Article 301 of the New York City Construction Codes states that property owners and landlords must maintain a certain standard of maintenance for their buildings. The building owner is responsible to keep compliant with the city building code. Unfortunately, not all owners and parties involved in keeping the property safe are responsible enough to conduct regular maintenance checks and quickly repair damages.
A landlord or owner may be negligent in repairing ceilings that are in need of maintenance. They may also hire a contractor or repairman to repair a ceiling problem, but the contractor may fail to do the job adequately. In such a situation, the contractor or the repairman can be held responsible for the ceiling’s collapse. This is in addition to the landlord or property owner being liable for any damages caused by the collapse. In some instances, damage may even be caused by the construction of the building itself if the construction company in which case the construction company may be liable.
Thus, there can be multiple parties who can be held liable for a ceiling collapse. Owners, contractors, landlords, and repairmen can be held responsible if a ceiling collapses and causes injuries and property damages. If it’s proven that the ceilings were inadequately constructed, used defective materials, or if minimum legal requirements were not fulfilled, construction companies may also be held liable. An experienced ceiling collapse attorney may be able to help you create a case that establishes the liability of different negligent parties.
How Can You Prove Negligence By a Property Owner?
You must prove negligence on the part of a property owner if you’ve experienced a collapsed ceiling and suffered injuries. Premises liability makes the landlord or property owner responsible if you can prove negligence. Property owners have a duty of care to ensure that their buildings are properly maintained in a reasonably safe manner so that residents, tenants, and visitors can remain safe.
If a landlord or property owner was aware of the potential risks of a ceiling collapse, they could be held liable for damages. An accident lawyer can help you prepare your lawsuit so that you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. They can help you prepare your claim if the property owner was negligent in the upkeep of your building