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Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

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Building collapses can generally be high-profile events that attract their share of media attention since they can involve many injuries and possibly deaths.

These incidents mean that a construction company, property owner, or general contractor is liable for injuries suffered because a collapse would speak for itself as a matter of fault. This topic can also cover instances on work sites where abandoned buildings cave in and injure or kill construction workers.

building collapse lawyer in Chicago, Illinois

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Chicago, IL building collapse accident, you need an experienced construction accident lawyer to help you recover financial compensation for the injuries that have been suffered.

The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have experience with serious injury and wrongful death cases.

Contact our law office for a free consultation and case review with one of our building collapse lawyers regarding your legal rights and filing a potential lawsuit against the responsible parties.

Why Do Building Collapses Occur?

Building collapses can occur for any one of several reasons. In nearly all instances, someone is at fault for the collapse. Here are some reasons why buildings would collapse:

  • The roof can be poorly maintained so that when there is rain or snowfall over a prolonged period, the roof can weaken to the point where the roof caves in.
  • Construction on a building can be of poor quality, causing the building to naturally collapse once construction has been completed.
  • There can be some negligence by a construction company laying the foundations of a building, causing it to collapse on people both on the job site and near the building.
  • A fire or an explosion can cause the entire building or a portion of it to collapse. There could also be another type of natural disaster that causes the building to collapse such as a storm or earthquake or other recent weather conditions.

Statistics About Building Collapses

Thankfully, building collapses are relatively rare in the United States. Builders use higher-quality materials and, in most cases, make some attempts to follow safety regulations.

However, building collapses still happen periodically. For example, in 2017, three people in total were killed in building collapses. Building collapses do not occur often, but when they do, damage awards and settlement amounts are usually high.

Here are some important facts and figures regarding building collapses.

  • Around the world, around a dozen buildings collapse yearly.
  • Dozens of people are critically wounded in each incident.
  • Construction, rot, weather, vibrations, termites, and decay are some of the biggest reasons for collapses.
  • The lifespan of a typical building can be as much as fifty years

If you are injured in a building collapse, speak with a building collapse lawyer or personal injury lawyer generally in an attorney-client relationship. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review your minor or catastrophic injuries to see if the property owners or others are at fault.

A reputable law firm with experienced construction accident lawyers can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the potentially liable parties if negligence causes it.

Then, you or a family member could recover compensation in a personal injury claim for pain and suffering, medical bills, burial expenses, lost wages, personal property fire damage, medical records requests, and more from the responsible parties.

Building Collapse Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions related to building collapse injuries. We appreciate that you may have further questions after reviewing these. Consequently, we invite you to contact our law firm for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

What Can Cause a Building to Collapse?

The main causes of building collapses include faulty foundations, improper design, deficient construction, excessive weight as well as natural disasters like tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, and earthquakes. However, the reason why is a particular building across the United States. Failure may include a combination of these or other factors.

Who Is Responsible for a Building Collapse?

Building designers, builders, owners, and other parties can be held responsible for collapses and the harm and costs that they cause personal injury victims.

How Do You Prevent a Building From Collapsing?

You can prevent building collapse accidents by inspecting the foundation; foregoing fundamental additions or renovations; understanding the construction process of the site; and taking precautions against earthquakes and other natural disasters.

What Is the Weakest Part of a Building?

The weakest parts of buildings include the corners, pillars, and load distributors.

How Do You Know If a Building Is Going to Collapse?

Some indicators that a building may be at risk for collapse include sagging floors, prior collapses, creaking or other noises, uneven floors or stairs, or past fire or flooding damage.

Types of Injuries in Building Collapses

Injuries that are suffered in building collapses may tend to be more severe than other construction accidents. The crushing effects of falling debris and building materials will generally cause severe injury.

Many injuries that are suffered are crush injuries. Here are some of the possible injuries that can come from a building collapse:

  • Severe Fractures– The force of debris falling on the body can cause significant fractures. Some of these fractures can be so severe that those who are injured may lose the use of limbs permanently. This is especially true when there is a serious crush injury. Sometimes, the damage to the limb is so great that it must be amputated.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury– Falling debris from a building collapse can strike a construction worker or a passerby in the head which can cause an injury to the brain. A TBI is one of the worst possible injuries because it can keep the victim from living a normal life in the future by taking away their ability to perform their activities of daily life.
  • Paralysis– When a victim is struck in the head by the collapsing building material or suffers an injury to their spinal cord, they may be rendered a paraplegic or a quadriplegic.
  • Internal Injuries– Sometimes, the injuries that are not externally apparent can be among the worst. Victims can suffer internal bleeding from a building collapse or damage to their internal organs from the trauma that their body has suffered.
  • Fatal Injuries– When a construction worker or bystander is fatally injured in a building collapse accident, the family may file a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties.

Building Collapse Regulations in the United States

In the wake of a building collapse, investigators will comb the scene searching for the cause of the collapse. Many times, they will conclude that the contractor or the building owner failed to follow numerous safety regulations.

The federal and state governments will have numerous regulations about building safety. Most of these rules are construction standards or other rules that are aimed at the building’s structural integrity. Buildings must be constructed up to code.

This means that they must be able to withstand certain weather challenges and other things that could potentially weaken a building. The regulations may also dictate the building materials that may be used and design standards that must be followed.

In general, building owners would have the obligation for routine safety inspections of their structures. Cutting corners and a failure to inspect the building may be the cause of a building collapse.

When that happens, the building owner may be found liable for the injuries that you or a loved one have suffered.

How Much Is My Building Collapse Injury Case Worth?

There are many factors that contribute to the value of your building collapse injury case such as medical expenses, lost income, pain, and disability, personal property fire damage, and much more.

The sample cases below will hopefully give you some insight into how these cases are valued by juries, lawyers, and insurance companies.

While these cases can be instructive, they should not be conclusive in valuing your particular situation. You should speak with a law firm in an attorney-client relationship that has experience with workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits.

A law firm can cover how personal injury claims against potentially liable parties can help fix the damage of a construction accident.

Sample Chicago Building Collapse Lawsuits, Jury Verdicts & Settlements

Plaintiff Verdict for $6.5 Million

This was a wrongful death case. The decedent was a 22-year-old student who was in a vehicle during a storm. A five-story wall was knocked over by the wind and fell onto the car, killing the student.

The wall was allegedly dilapidated and in disrepair. According to the lawsuit, the wall was missing bricks and had already suffered severe water damage. The lawsuit also noted that the wall had been repeatedly noted on safety inspections as possibly dangerous.

The defendant tried to argue that an act of God had caused the wall to collapse.

Plaintiff Verdict for $1.165 Million

This was a wrongful death claim that was brought when a 45-year-old man who was working as a foreman at a construction site was killed when the wall of a building collapsed and fell on him.

The building was a 100-year-old historic building that was being converted into a restaurant. The lawsuit claimed that the wall was undermined in the construction process, partially causing the collapse.

In addition, it had previously rained heavily and there was no temporary shoring and bracing under the wall. The defendant had claimed that the collapse was either unavoidable or that the decedent undermined the wall himself.

Plaintiff Verdict for $5,656,722

The plaintiff was in a self-storage unit that he was renting from the defendant. The ceiling of the unit collapsed on him. The plaintiff claims that this was because the defendant was illegally constructing a loft on top of the storage unit.

Over a ton of metal construction material fell on top of the plaintiff causing him pelvic fractures, nerve damage, and a permanent loss of vision. The plaintiff contended that the defendant’s general contract and architect made the building unsafe by removing beams that were supporting the roof.

Note to new clients, this attorney advertising is no guarantee of a similar outcome. Only after speaking to our law offices can you conclude if a similar outcome is possible against the insurance company, general contractors, condo association, or other defendant.

Settlement for $2.25 Million

The plaintiffs were on vacation in Mexico and were sunbathing on a beach that belonged to a U.S. hotel corporation. They were sitting on lounge chairs when the patio wall above them collapsed.

One of the plaintiffs was killed and the other suffered serious injuries. The plaintiff who was injured was able to lunge from her chair to avoid the collapsing wall, but her husband was not and was crushed.

The lawsuit claimed that the wall was improperly constructed and that it was built on sand without the proper footing.

Plaintiff Verdict for $600,000

The plaintiff was injured when plaster in the archway of her apartment collapsed and struck her. The plaster was loosened because work was being performed on a next-door apartment. The lawsuit claimed that vibrations from the renovation caused the plaster to collapse.

The plaintiff suffered serious injuries including a herniated disk, spinal cord concussions, and permanent scarring due to lacerations.

Talk to the personal injury lawyers of our law firms after a construction accident to review how the collapsed building harmed your family. Our collapse attorneys can go to the construction site, figure out how the construction accident occurred, and then take action.

Personal injury law firms like our law firm are skilled in personal injury law and recovering compensation for injured clients. Our law offices can help injured workers obtain damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, personal injury, and more from negligent parties.

Normally, defendants targeted include the following:

  • Construction companies
  • Condo association boards,
  • Subcontractors (for construction errors)
  • General contractors
  • Manufacturers of defective materials
  • Engineering experts
  • Premises liability owners

The personal injury lawyers at our law offices can see who can be held accountable and financially responsible. Our team has decades of combined experience in these practice areas. The personal injury lawyers here can check whatever party’s negligence caused or negligence contributed to the building’s collapse at construction or demolition sites.

The building collapse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have years of experience litigating construction injuries and workers’ compensation cases on behalf of our clients and their families.

Call us today at (888) 424-5757 or use our contact form to set up your free consultation with one of our construction site accident lawyers.

We can help you obtain the justice that you deserve for your injuries in the form of financial compensation. Your initial consultation is free and we are not paid anything unless we can help you to receive a jury award or a settlement for your injuries.

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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