New Jersey Building Collapse Attorneys

Representing Victims with Injuries from Structural Failure Accidents in Trenton and throughout NJ

Structural Failure Accident Lawsuit Attorneys in Trenton NJ

Recognizing that there’s a problem in New Jersey with poorly designed and built structures, and after the tragic collapse of a high-rise condo in Florida, the state legislature passed a bill, S2760, intended to strengthen the structural integrity of co-op and condo buildings. It sets a timeline for inspections of the load-bearing systems. It also requires capital reserves, to make sure funds are set aside for repairs. These are positive developments, but there are plenty of office and commercial buildings in New Jersey that are getting old and not being maintained properly.

Because each case is distinct, our structural failure and building collapse attorneys at Cohen & Riechelson emphasize personalized care when representing injured victims in Woodbridge, Trenton, Hamilton, Ewing, Princeton, New Brunwswick, and across Mercer, Burlington, and Middlesex County, and throughout New Jersey. This allows us to evaluate your circumstances directly and determine the most suitable course of action, which could entail pursuing a workers’ compensation claim or filing a personal injury lawsuit. Get in touch with one of our legal professionals today at 609-528-2596 to discover how we can assist you with pursuing compensation for structure failure injuries. We are pleased to provide you with a complimentary review of your case.

Dangers of Old and Poorly Maintained Buildings in New Jersey

Let’s talk about old or poorly maintained buildings first. Like buildings under construction, they can be the source of injuries for workers and bystanders—and for the first response workers who try to help them. These buildings can have a variety of problems. Over time, the building’s structural beams and supports might get weaker, making it likely to collapse and hurt people nearby.

Bits of the building, like the façade or bricks or concrete or trim, might fall off and hit people below, especially if there’s work being done that shakes things loose. The wiring might be old and not safe, causing shocks, fires, or explosions.

Buildings under construction are dangerous, too, with heavy machinery, hazardous materials, and unstable structures. Construction workers and visitors to the site face many risks, but building collapse is probably the biggest. A building that collapses can cause severe injuries, not only to people within the building but also to passers-by, who could be hit with debris.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a building collapse, get in touch with our New Jersey building collapse accident attorneys and get your free consultation.

Understanding Inward vs. Outward Building Collapses

When a building’s structure fails, it will collapse onto itself and pull the outside walls into the collapse. This results in dense debris in a relatively small area. Individuals who were caught inside the building would have a hard time surviving a huge amount of heavy debris.

On the other hand, if a building collapses because of an explosion or violent weather, it collapses outward, leaving a larger area of less dense debris. This could result in injury to people not only within the building but also to those anywhere near the building. Because the area to be searched for survivors is so much bigger, rescue can take longer.

Recent Structural Collapse in New Jersey

There’s a recent example of a structural collapse in New Jersey. According to Mid-Jersey News, there was an incident in Edison in November. A shelf collapsed, tearing down a load-bearing wall, which in turn caused the wall and the roof to fall. Debris rained down upon 62 workers. One worker needed to be hospitalized.

Common Risks Following a Building Collapse

After a building collapses, there are a variety of dangers:

  • Unstable StructuresThe building might still be shaky and could collapse even more, potentially injuring people nearby.
  • Being Trapped: People might get stuck under debris, making it hard for them to move or breathe.
  • Getting Crushed: If someone is caught under heavy debris, they could suffer serious injuries like broken bones or internal damage.
  • Difficulty Breathing: There might not be enough air, or the air could be bad, which could make it hard to breathe.
  • Toxic Gases: The collapse could release harmful chemicals or materials, which could be dangerous to breathe in or touch.
  • Fire and Explosions: Gas leaks or electrical problems could cause fires or explosions, putting people at risk.
  • Other Dangers: Things like broken gas lines or flooding could create more hazards for rescuers and people nearby.
  • Emotional Trauma: Seeing a building collapse or being involved in the rescue efforts can be really stressful and upsetting for everyone involved.

To stay safe, it’s important for rescue teams to be prepared for these dangers and for buildings to be maintained properly to prevent collapses in the first place.

Assessing Physical Trauma After Structural Failure Accidents

Building Collapses in Mercer County and New Jersey

People can get cuts and bruises from falling debris or being trapped under collapsed parts of the building. When heavy parts of the building fall on people, they can suffer crush injuries. This can damage muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Falling debris or collapsing structures can cause head injuries like concussions or more serious traumatic brain injuries. People might hurt their backs or spines if they are hit by falling debris or trapped under collapsed parts of the building. This can lead to paralysis or loss of feeling below the injury.

Breathing in dust, smoke, or toxic fumes from the collapsed building can cause lung problems like irritation or trouble breathing. When muscles are squeezed for a long time, they can release harmful substances into the body when pressure is removed. This can damage the kidneys and cause other health problems. Fires started by a building collapse can cause burns, which can range from minor to severe depending on how long someone is exposed to the flames.

Survivors of building collapses might also experience mental distress like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. It’s important for rescue teams and medical workers to be ready to help people with these injuries quickly after a building collapse. Getting help fast can make a big difference in how well someone recovers.

Occupational Hazards in NJ Building Collapse Situations

Certain jobs are more likely to face danger when buildings collapse:

  • Construction workers on building sites, especially during demolition or renovation, can get hurt by falling debris or being trapped under collapsed structures.
  • Firefighters rush to collapsed buildings to save lives and put out fires, risking injury from unstable structures, falling objects, and dangerous materials like smoke and chemicals.
  • Search and rescue teams help find and rescue people trapped in collapsed buildings. They face similar dangers to firefighters but also deal with tight spaces and tricky rescue situations.
  • Paramedics and ambulance crews treat injured people at collapsed sites, risking harm themselves from unstable conditions and while moving patients.
  • Building inspectors and engineers who check and design buildings may be in danger if a collapse happens while they’re working inside or inspecting structures.
  • Utility workers who fix gas, water, or electricity lines can be at risk if a collapse damages infrastructure, leading to gas leaks, electrical hazards, or burst pipes.
  • Police officers help manage the scene during a collapse, ensuring safety and crowd control while also avoiding dangers such as unstable buildings and potential criminal activity.
  • Due to the chaotic and unsafe conditions, people who volunteer to help after a collapse, as well as those nearby who offer assistance, may put themselves in harm’s way.

OSHA’s Actions in the Event of a Building Collapse

In the event of a building collapse, OSHA steps in to ensure workers’ safety and uphold workplace regulations. Overall, OSHA’s job is to make sure workers are protected and that safety rules are followed, especially in emergencies like building collapses. Here’s what they do. OSHA investigates why the collapse happened and checks if any safety rules were broken. If they find violations, they can enforce penalties to punish the employers responsible.

OSHA also sets rules to keep workers safe from dangers like falling or hazardous materials during a collapse. If employers don’t follow these rules, OSHA can take action to make sure they do. OSHA also assists emergency workers by giving advice on how to handle dangers at the collapse site and ensuring everyone stays safe. The organization offers training and resources to educate employers and workers on how to prevent collapses and handle emergencies safely.

Who can be Held Liable for a Structural Failure?

Determining who’s responsible for injuries from a structural failure involves a detailed investigation. Experts check out what happened and how bad it is. They inspect the building, its history, and any recent changes. Then structural engineers and others who know about buildings examine what went wrong. They look for design mistakes, construction errors, or problems with upkeep. Investigators see if the building followed the right codes and rules for safety during construction and maintenance. If it didn’t, the owners or builders might be responsible.

The investigation team checks if the building was properly taken care of over time. Neglecting repairs or not fixing known issues could mean the owners are at fault. The team looks at contracts between people involved in building or maintaining the place. If someone didn’t do their job, they might be responsible. Investigators see if the collapse could have been predicted and if the responsible parties did enough to prevent it. If they didn’t take proper precautions, they could be held accountable.

The investigative team also considers if things like natural disasters played a role. But even if they did, negligence could still make someone responsible if they didn’t do enough to prevent harm. If someone is found at fault, legal action might follow to get compensation for injuries and damages. In the end, who’s responsible for structural failure injuries depends on the evidence, whether they followed the rules, and if they did enough to keep people safe.

Immediate Steps After a Building Collapses

Pursuing Compensation for Injuries from a Building Collapse in New Jersey

First, seek medical attention right away, even for minor injuries. Your health comes first. Then, dial emergency services to report the collapse. They’ll send help and medical aid. If it’s safe, snap photos or videos of the collapsed building and your injuries. It could be useful later. Also, be sure to get contact info from anyone who saw what happened. They might help explain what caused the collapse.

Let the authorities know about the collapse, like building inspectors or the police. They’ll look into it. Inform your boss too. If you were working when it happened, inform your employer. They might need to file a workers’ compensation claim. To protect your interests, hang onto any records related to the collapse, like medical records or damaged belongings. It could help your case. Follow your doctor’s advice for treatment and recovery. Keep track of your medical expenses.

Contact Experienced Hamilton Building Collapse Injury Lawyers for Assistance Pursuing Compensation

Hiring the experienced attorneys at Cohen & Riechelson can make a big difference in getting you the compensation you need after a building collapse in West Windsor, Lawrence, Trenton, Lambertville, Hamilton, or elsewhere in New Jersey. First, we will explain what you can do legally to get compensated for your injuries. Then, our legal team will investigate the collapse and associated evidence collected by experts and investigators. Our structural failure injury lawyers have the skills, tools, and expert contacts to determine why the building fell down. We also collect important data like medical records and photos of the collapse to support your case.

Building collapse cases can be complicated, but our New Jersey lawyers know the ins and outs of these lawsuits and we will make sure your rights are protected as we fight to make sure you get all the money you deserve for your injuries and other losses. Call 609-528-2596 today for a free consultation. We’ll evaluate your case and advise you on the best way to move forward.