More Building Collapses Likely Due to Effects of Climate Change

The collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida in late June 2021 has placed a spotlight on the safety of various buildings reaching 40 years of age or older. In cities and towns along the coastline, the increasing severity of the effects of climate change has also caused worry that many older buildings and towers will rapidly become unsafe

Why Do Building Collapses Occur?

Building collapses occur due to a wide variety of causes, including structural defects baked into the building during its construction, inadequate maintenance, and environmental factors. In many cases of building collapse, it is often a combination of factors that leads to the accident.

How Climate Change Can Cause or Contribute to Building Collapses

In the Surfside collapse, some experts believe that environmental conditions may have been the ultimately triggering cause of the tragedy. Although the building may have had substandard work performed during its original construction, flooding, hurricanes, and other violent weather, and land sinkage may have accelerated the deterioration of the building’s structure, including the reinforced concrete making up the building’s support walls and pillars. 

Unfortunately, due to the effects of climate change, buildings will be more frequently exposed to harsh environmental conditions than the developers of those buildings could have ever imagined. This includes:

  • More frequent flooding, increased flood, or flooding in areas previously not prone to flooding.
  • More violent weather, including increased frequency and severity of tropical storms and tornadoes.
  • More extreme temperatures, particularly longer, hotter summers.

Liability for Building Collapse Accidents

When a building collapse accident does occur, it often leads to death, severe injury, and significant property damage and loss. However, determining who can be held liable for all this loss is not always easy. Liability for building collapses may fall upon parties such as:

  • The building’s owner or manager. In the Surfside collapse, the condominium association responsible for managing the building has been sued under the theory that it was negligent in its duties to maintain the structural integrity of the condo building. Building owner/manager negligence may lead to a building collapse where the owner/manager fails to undertake reasonable inspections or negligently hires an inadequate or unsafe contractor to perform work on the building.
  • Contractors, including those who originally constructed the building as well as later contractor firms who perform maintenance or build additions onto the structure. Contractors may be held liable for shoddy work or knowingly using substandard materials.
  • Architects who designed the building, if they put in a defective design feature that ultimately leads to a collapse.
  • Engineers who review and approve the construction plans, or who are called in over the years to inspect and certify the safety of the building.

At the Marrone Law Firm, we have unique experience in building collapse cases. Our firm successfully represented victims of the Salvation Army store collapse in Philadelphia in 2013. The collapse was ultimately attributed to negligence by contractors who were demolishing a nearby building. The victims of the accident, including the family of a 59-year-old man whose pre-existing heart condition was made fatal due to the accident represented by The Marrone Law Firm, ultimately recovered more than $227 million in settlement compensation.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Building Collapse Accident Case in Pennsylvania

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a building collapse accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Marrone Law Firm, LLC represent clients injured because of building collapse accidents in Philadelphia, Center City, University City, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (866) 732-6700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 200 S. Broad St., Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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