Family Files Lawsuit After Building Collapse Kills 3
The family of a man who died in a partial building collapse have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the building’s owner among other parties. The collapse occurred on May 28th and has since spurred forth 6 lawsuits. This, however, is the first wrongful death lawsuit.
The suit alleges that the victim remained alive underneath the rubble for an extended period of time, but no one could get to him in time to save his life. If that allegation proves accurate, then the plaintiff may be entitled to recover pain and suffering damages related to his death. In cases like these, the pain and suffering of the victim is taken into consideration when the damages are assessed. Being buried alive is one of the most frightening and helpless feelings imaginable.
Details concerning the collapse
The plaintiff was on the 5th floor of the complex when disaster struck. He was “violently swept from the apartment” and fell alongside his belongings and debris. He was then buried under the debris. The suit claims he remained alive underneath the rubble, “potentially for days”, until he eventually succumbed to his injuries.
While the collapse occurred in May, the building owners may have had warning that a collapse was imminent after one of the apartment’s inhabitants called the management company to tell them that it appeared as though her wall was bowing. This same tenant also reported that a window was pulling away from the wall and that the floor was uneven and the floor and wall appeared “soft.” After the complaint was issued, the one who filed the complaint was moved to another building across the street, but nothing was done to warn tenants about an imminent collapse.
Due in large part to the failure of the building’s management to act on obvious signs that a collapse could happen at any moment, the plaintiffs are suing for punitive damages. Criminal charges in cases like this are also possible as those with the power to save at least three lives failed to act when necessary.
In terms of punitive damages, the allegations are quite appropriate. To sue for punitive damages you must establish that there is a wanton disregard for the individual safety of these tenants. If the management of the facility had cause to know that the building was in the early stages of collapse and failed to warn the tenants, then they can and should be held liable for punitive damages.
Punitive damages are assessed in cases where a defendant intentionally or maliciously places others in danger. To win on that claim, the plaintiffs will need to establish that the building’s management did nothing to mitigate the risk of a collapse. That appears likely given these allegations.
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The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of Tampa residents who have lost loved ones to acts of negligence. Call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.