Wall and Roof Collapses

Construction workers constantly face the hazard of wall and roof collapses when working on buildings at various levels of completion. Particularly when a building is unfinished, being renovated, or in need of demolition, wall and roof collapses are among the most dangerous construction work hazards on a construction site. Because of the weight of the materials involved in a wall or roof collapse, these types of accidents can be devastating and cause workers to be severely injured or even killed.

Wall and roof collapses are complex events, but the attorneys of Block O'Toole & Murphy have the skill, experience, and history of success to identify negligent parties who may have contributed to the accident and bring them to justice. If you or a loved one have been injured in wall or roof collapse on a construction site and would like to file a lawsuit, call 212-736-5300 to receive a free, no-obligation case review from one of our experienced construction accident lawyers.

Since 2012, Block O'Toole & Murphy has won more results exceeding $1,000,000 than any other law firm in New York, year after year. Fill out our contact form for a free legal consultation.

What Causes Roof and Wall Collapses on Construction Sites?

Buildings need to be carefully designed and built so that they can maintain their structural integrity many years after being constructed. No matter how it happens, a roof or wall collapse is evidence that something has gone terribly wrong in the construction, renovation or demolition of a building. Here are potential causes of roof and wall collapses:

  • Lack of proper wall or ceiling support, particularly for buildings still under construction or that have been partially demolished
  • Old or inadequate building materials, often in older buildings that are being demolished and collapse unexpectedly
  • Excessive moisture, either in the form of snow accumulation on a roof or rainwater that causes the dirt under a building foundation to shift
  • Falling object accidents, such as from a crane or window, that may place unexpected loads on a roof or wall before it is finished
  • Heavy machinery accidents, which can be caused by bad planning of heavy vehicle driving routes or operator error
  • Demolition accidents, which can cause significant changes in the structural integrity of a building, leading to a collapse if not properly planned for
  • Design flaws in the blueprint for the building, which can lead to structurally unsound structure which is doomed to collapse

A wall or roof collapse may be evidence that somebody has made a major mistake. Because of the complexity surrounding such collapses, however, it can be hard to discern who is ultimately responsible. Thorough investigation and interviewing witnesses and parties involved will likely be necessary to identify the person or persons liable for the collapse.

Injuries Caused by Wall and Roof Collapses

Wall and roof collapses can involve heavy building materials, powerful machinery, and high elevations. Workers who get hurt in these types of construction accidents could suffer severe injuries such as:

  • Death
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Severe spinal injuries
  • Loss of limb
  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries

Other less-obvious injuries that could occur due to wall and roof collapses are electrocutions, hazardous fume inhalations and burns. This is because walls and roofs often contain important wiring elements which could be damaged in the event of a collapse, potentially exposing live wires or other hazardous fumes. In the event that a wall or roof collapse occurs, do not assume that the danger has passed just because nothing else is falling.

Filing a Lawsuit After a Collapse

When a worker is injured in a construction accident, medical bills can quickly accumulate, and wages missed from time away from work can make financial stress worse. There may also be a feeling that somebody needs to be held accountable for the pain and suffering the accident has caused. A personal injury lawsuit may allow injured workers and their families to recover compensation for the damages they've unfairly been forced to suffer.

A construction accident lawsuit can be filed against a third party responsible for causing the accident. Typically, third-parties who can be sued following a construction accident include general contractors, property owners, equipment manufacturers and subcontractors.

Broadly speaking, an injured worker can bring a lawsuit against a negligent party who had a duty of care to the worker, but failed to perform their duty and thus caused the worker's injuries. As with any lawsuit, it is necessary to contact an experienced attorney to know who the suit should be filed against and what damages can be claimed.

Preventing Masonry Wall Collapses

One hazard which can make wall collapses more likely is concrete and masonry walls, which create tremendously heavy loads that need to be supported. To prevent construction worker injuries from collapsing masonry walls, follow these OSHA recommendations:

  • Never place construction loads on a concrete structure until a qualified person confirms that the concrete can support it.
  • Shore or brace structures until permanent supporting elements are in place or until the concrete has been tested and proved to be sufficiently strong.
  • Only allow essential, actively engaged construction personnel in the work area.

Any type of wall or roof can collapse if it is not properly built, maintained and supported. Contractors, foremen, and other authority figures in charge of safety should be aware of any added dangers on their construction site, however, so that they can take all possible precautions to keep workers safe from potentially devastating accidents.

Contact a Wall Collapse Injury Attorney Serving New York

If you or someone you love was injured due to a collapsing roof or wall, call 212-736-5300 to receive a free case evaluation from one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. Our construction accident results speak for themselves.

We are proud to serve injured workers across the five boroughs, Long Island, upstate New York, and New Jersey.

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