The Big Apple is no freshly picked fruit. No, New York City is one of the oldest cities in the United States, having been founded as New Amsterdam in 1624. Of course, very few of the city’s buildings are more than 100 years old, but many of them are in ill repair.
When you combine the condition of many of New York City’s buildings with the weather extremes we experience, it’s no surprise ceilings collapse every year. If you’ve experienced a ceiling collapse, whether in your apartment, at work, or at a friend’s place, you may be entitled to compensation from the liable party or parties.
To find out more about your legal rights and options, you’ll want to speak to a qualified NY premises liability attorney. For over 50 years, the legal team at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP has been successfully representing residents of The City That Never Sleeps. Call our offices at (212) 986-7353 for a FREE consultation.
Any number of parties can be held liable for a ceiling collapse, beginning with the building’s owner and the management company charged with maintaining the building. Events like a ceiling collapse usually fall under the heading of premises liability. To have a successful premises liability claim, you need to prove that the party charged with maintaining the building knew that the ceiling needed repair and failed to have it fixed in a reasonable amount of time.
Another party that could be held liable would be the construction company that built the building or the contractor who did the repairs to the ceiling. It’s not unheard of for such parties to perform poor workmanship or not build up to building codes to save money.
If the collapse was caused by a faulty product, such as the ceiling joists, the sheetrock, or the drywall screws used to hang the sheetrock, you may have a viable product liability claim against the product’s manufacturer. Suppose a sink in the apartment upstairs was faulty and leaked, causing the plaster in the ceiling below to weaken and collapse. The manufacturer of that sink could also be subject to a product liability lawsuit.
Many factors can contribute to a collapsed ceiling. One of the leading causes is lack of maintenance on old buildings. Over time, even the most carefully constructed building needs to be repaired to stave off deterioration. There’s also the possibility that your building wasn’t very well-constructed to begin with. The builders may have cut corners, and now you’re paying the price for it.
Structural and engineering flaws may also play a large role in collapsed ceiling events. Another damaging influence is accumulated snow that puts a heavy strain on the ceiling if it’s not removed right away. Water damage can also do serious damage to any type of structure and it’s a frequent culprit when ceilings collapse. Vermin that live in the attic can eat away at materials and weaken structures.
There are often signs that give an indication that a ceiling may collapse before the tragedy occurs, including:
- Cracking or peeling tile, plaster, or fixtures
- The ceiling has a sagging appearance
- Screws, nails, paint, or plaster are found on the floor
- Leaking pipes and other plumbing issues can cause erosion that leads to collapse
- Spots, yellow stains, and brown watermarks
- Bubbling and mold formation
- Creaking, cracking, and popping noises
If you suspect ceiling damage that may lead to a collapse, it’s a good idea to measure the distance from floor to ceiling at various points. You might also want to check to see if the ceiling is level.
If you notice any of these signs, you will want to inform your landlord or condo board right away and demand that they take immediate action. If they refuse to have your space checked out by a professional building inspector, it’s time to take legal action.
When a ceiling collapse occurs, tons of solid material can come crashing down on unsuspecting people. This often occurs while they sleep, making escape that much more difficult. It’s not surprising that injuries can be catastrophic and even fatal. Medical consequences from a collapsed ceiling accident may include:
- Bone fracture and degenerative back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Loss of limb
If you’ve experienced a ceiling or building collapse, you may be entitled to compensation for any of the following damages:
- Property damage or loss
- Costs of an alternate dwelling, such as a hotel room, while your apartment is being repaired
- Costs of lost business if the collapse occurred at a business you own
- Current and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and mental duress
- Permanent injury or disability
- Costs of vehicle and household modifications to accommodate your injuries
- Hedonic damages if your permanent injury caused a loss of joy of life
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning potential
- Diminished earning potential
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Wrongful death damages if the ceiling collapse took the life of a loved one
Whether you were in your own home, a business, a friend’s apartment, at work, at school, or in a public place, you can be compensated for your losses and injuries due to a ceiling collapse. To get the settlement you deserve, it is crucial that you consult a skilled attorney.
The NY personal injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP have been fighting for the rights of NYC’s injury victims for half a century, and will put their knowledge, tenacity, and experience to work on your claim. For a FREE case evaluation, call (212) 986-7353 today.
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$2.25 Million - Tenant Injured by Ceiling Collapse
$1.957 Million - Corrections Officer Injured by Ceiling Collapse
$1.45 Million - Ceiling Collapse on Bronx Resident
$1.2 Million - Apartment Ceiling Collapse
$1 Million - Bathroom Ceiling Collapse
$750,000 - Ceiling Collapse