Precautions should be taken by property owners to prevent ceiling collapses. Sometimes, a ceiling collapse happens gradually, starting with a spot on the ceiling, and then plaster starts bulging from the ceiling, and then the wallboard and wood and debris fall down. It may be possible to hold a landlord, storeowner, contractor, or other business liable when its negligence results in a ceiling collapse. At Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP, our New York City premises liability attorneys may be able to help you recover damages if you are injured in this situation.Claims Based on Ceiling Collapses
A ceiling collapse can result in serious injuries, such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, disc damage, broken bones, nerve damage, soft tissue injuries, and injuries to tendons and ligaments. Trauma to the joints can result in serious disabilities as well. Sometimes a ceiling collapse can even cause a tragic loss of life.
Recovering from these types of injuries can be both painful and expensive. You may need to visit a doctor and other rehabilitation professionals frequently for the rest of your life. You may be temporarily or permanently unable to work, and you may have diminished earnings as a result of your injuries. For most people, it is not possible to afford the level of care necessary to treat catastrophic injuries without filing a lawsuit.
If the ceiling collapse occurred on property that is not your own — property that you were renting or visiting — you may be able to bring a premises liability lawsuit to recover damages. In New York, building owners have a non-delegable duty of care to preserve the structural integrity of a building. In other words, they cannot simply disclaim responsibility by contracting with a maintenance company to take care of any potential structural problems.
Property owners are expected to use reasonable care to inspect their property so that they can discover any dangerous conditions and make repairs or provide warnings as necessary. A ceiling collapse can be a result of a property owner's negligent inspection, negligent maintenance, negligent repair, painting over a problem spot, an infestation of insects or rats that weakens a structure, a violation of building codes, or substandard work by a contractor.
To prove a premises liability lawsuit, you will need to show that the property owner owed you a duty that was breached, thereby causing your injuries. You will need to show that the property owner had actual or constructive notice. Constructive notice exists when a property owner should have known about a dangerous property condition had it used reasonable care. When a dangerous condition develops very quickly, it may not be possible for a property owner to have constructive notice. However, more often, there are some warning signs of a ceiling collapse, such as bulging plaster or spots on the ceiling that a landlord should have seen. If these signs exist for a while, it should be possible to establish actual or constructive notice.
In some cases, a ceiling collapse occurs as a result of a municipality's negligence and failure to make repairs. For example, a ceiling collapse could happen in a school operated by the Department of Education or in housing operated and managed by the New York City Housing Authority. In those situations, it is usually necessary for your attorney to prepare and serve a Notice of Claim to the municipality within 90 days of the injury.
If you can establish the defendant's liability, you should be able to recover all of the damages that naturally flow from your injuries. These damages can cover both economic and noneconomic losses, including medical expenses, lost wages or income, household services, emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, vocational rehabilitation, and physical therapy.Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in New York City
During a ceiling collapse, you may suffer serious injuries or lose a loved one. It can be challenging to prove the elements of a personal injury or wrongful death claim. It is crucial to secure knowledgeable legal representation from a New York City lawyer. Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP provides assertive legal representation for these claims. We represent people in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Call us at 718-896-2700 or use our online form to set up your appointment.