New York City has a number of buildings that date back a century, if not longer. While this gives the city some of its charm and character, older buildings constructed long before the days of modern building codes and regulations have to be renovated to help ensure that they remain safe.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. When it doesn’t, the results can be catastrophic. The recent collapse of a lower Manhattan parking garage that resulted in multiple injuries and one fatality is an example.
Unresolved violations and excessive weight are among initial findings
While New York’s Department of Buildings and others, including the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, are still investigating the cause of the collapse, preliminary findings show unresolved violations dating back 20 years. They involve “ceiling slab cracks” and “defective concrete with exposed rear cracks” that were deemed “hazardous.”
Further, according to the New York Fire Department, there were more vehicles parked on the roof of the garage than it could safely hold. The certification of occupancy for the roof, dated 1957, said that the roof could hold “passenger-car type” vehicles only. That was years before SUVs became popular. Several SUVs were parked on the roof at the time it collapsed onto the floor below, killing the parking garage manager and injuring five employees.
Holding the right party(ies) accountable is critical
Often, as is the case here, one business is leasing a commercial space from another company. With a ceiling collapse or other structural failure that causes injuries, the property owner is certainly one party to look to when determining who is liable. If structural hazards are found and not fixed, it may be possible that the relevant government agency has some liability.
One thing you can be almost certain of is that these parties will try to shift the blame from one to another, which can leave victims and surviving family members facing delays and frustrations on top of everything they’ve already had to deal with. Having experienced legal guidance can help you hold the appropriate parties liable as you seek justice and compensation.