A few days ago, an unidentified man jumped off the roof of the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. As he fell, the man struck a large cement planter, which absorbed some of the impact from the fall. Medics on the scene found that the man still had a pulse, and that there was a slim chance he may survived the tragic suicide attempt.
Unfortunately, the man soon passed away from his injuries, and those who witnessed the incident shared their grief and trauma on Reddit’s r/LosAngeles forum. One user mentioned that he had witnessed the man crawling through an open space on the rooftop terrace and jumping off the ledge. There are still so many questions that need to be answered about this incident, including why the man was compelled to end his life in this tragic manner.
We also have to consider how these incidents keep happening again and again, when there are reasonable measures that hotel owners can take, like putting up protective barriers to prevent jumpers. Aside from protecting those who are suicidal from injury or death, these incidents cause serious harm to anyone they hit at the time of landing. Based on the level of impact and blunt force trauma, the innocent victim may die as a result of their injuries. In short, suicide barriers save lives, and they are an essential fixture at places like the Ace Hotel. If you or someone you know was injured or killed from a fall-related accident at the Acc Hotel, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation or wrongful death benefits. Contact our law firm immediately to speak to a lawyer with experience in lawsuits against building owners that fail to install suicide prevention barriers.
What is a Suicide Barrier?
Suicide barriers are structures that are used to prevent people from committing suicide by jumping from high places, like bridges and buildings. In most cases, a suicide barrier is made from nets, metal screening, and fences. You often see these types of barriers on observation decks at tourist attractions and “suicide bridges,” meaning there is a history of people who have attempted suicide by jumping off the bridge.
However, it’s essential for tall buildings to have these barriers as well. At the very least, there should be locks and alarms that prevent people from accessing the roof, which is the standard protocol at residential buildings. But commercial premises, like a busy hotel, should have structures on the roof for the purpose of preventing suicides.
Suicide barriers don’t just serve the purpose of making it difficult for people to jump out of or off a building. They can also protect people from being injured by those who intentionally jump off of buildings, bridges, and other structures. Being hit by a jumper can result in severe injuries, even at relatively low heights. However, the Ace Hotel is a whopping 13 stories tall, so you can imagine how devastating it would be if someone is struck by an object or person falling from that height. In fact, many of these incidents result in the victim dying due to the extent of their injuries.
Due to these circumstances, it’s essential for owners of tall buildings to install protective barriers on the roof, along with other protective measures, like bars on windows. In the next section, we will discuss the liability of property owners for suicide attempts and other incidents due to a lack of safety barriers.
Suicide Prevention Liability for Building That Don’t Put Up Protective Barriers on Roofs
There’s no denying that incidents happen regularly where people jump from the rooftops or ledges of buildings in Downtown Los Angeles. That’s why there is a section of Los Angeles known as the “Downtown Suicide Triangle,” which refers to a cluster of hotels with high suicide rates. These include incidents of people falling off the roof or out of a window.
Since this is a situation that many people are aware of, it’s reasonable to ask, “Can a building owner be sued for the rooftop not being protected the right way and people falling off? Can I sue if my family member was injured / killed by someone that fell from the Ace Hotel due to lack of suicide barriers?”
Yes, you can sue for injuries or death by negligence under the law of premises liability. In layman’s terms, this is a legal concept where owners are responsible for injuries and/or property damage caused by dangerous conditions on their property. This doesn’t mean that you can sue a property owner for any and every type of accident. Essentially, you would have to determine that the owner knew about or should have known about a condition on their property that had the potential to cause harm to others. Furthermore, the situation could have been resolved through reasonable means, like maintenance, making repairs, or adding safety barriers.
Considering the long history of suicides from tall structures in Downtown Los Angeles, there is no excuse for hotels in the area to be without barriers that make it hard for people to jump off the building. Were you injured by someone that fell off the roof at the Ace Hotel? Did you lose a family member that jumped off the roof or out of a window at the Ace Hotel? You may have grounds to sue the hotel owner for negligence and receive compensation for your harm and suffering.
The lawyers of DTLA have decades of experience in lawsuits against building owners that fail in their duty of care to the public. We are here to answer your questions and provide you with guidance if you are interested in filing a legal action against the owners of the Ace Hotel. Please take a moment to reach out to us and learn about your rights from a personal injury or wrongful death attorney.
Is There a Deadline to File a Lawsuit?
Yes, there is a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, which applies to all civil lawsuits in the state of California. As the victim of injury from someone jumping off a building, you have 2 years from the incident date to file a premises liability lawsuit. For a wrongful death claim, meaning your loved one died from a suicide attempt due to lack of protective barriers, you have 2 years from the date of death to file a lawsuit.
These are deadlines set by the court, so your right to sue the negligent party will most likely be invalidated if you exceed the statute of limitations. Don’t lose out on your chance to receive justice from a falling off a building accident case. Contact us right away to schedule a free case review with one of our attorneys.
What is the Average Settlement from One of These Cases?
Settlement values depend on a variety of factors that are unique to the incident and how the victim is affected by the resulting injuries. In the case of death by suicide, compensation amounts are based on the losses to the spouse or family member, such as funeral expenses, loss of expected earnings, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. As a result, there is no universal dollar amount that can be applied to each and every case.
We would say that personal injury claims for bystanders that are struck by someone falling off a roof are probably worth around $175,000 to $2,500,000. Wrongful death claims, on the other hand, are typically settled for $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 or more, as they include projected losses, like income that would have been earned by the decedent if they had not died from the accident. Settlement awards can also include loss of consortium, which is payment that’s awarded to spouses or registered domestic partners for the “loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support, losing the enjoyment of sexual relation, or the ability to have children.”
How Long will it Take to Settle my Case?
These cases involve complex circumstances, including the degree of injury to the victim or the losses suffered by the family members. As a result, it can take 1 or more years to negotiate a settlement with the owner and/or manager of the building. It’s possible that we can agree on a fair settlement within a few months, but this is the exception rather than the rule, especially in cases of wrongful death. If reaching a settlement privately with the insurance company is taking too long, we can file a lawsuit on your behalf and continue to work towards a settlement. And yes, filing a lawsuit does open up the possibility of your case going to trial. The good news is, more than 95% of all injury or wrongful death claims are not tried in court, as we are able to reach a settlement before then.
Legal Advice from a Building Liability Lawsuit Attorney
Owners of buildings have many duties and responsibilities when it comes to protecting visitors and guests on the premises. This includes preventative measures that make it difficult for people to access the roof, or to jump off or accidentally fall out of the building. When there is a failure to install suicide barriers and create safety protocols to keep people safe, the victim or their families have the right to pursue justice in the form of a civil lawsuit.
DTLA Law Group is a personal injury law firm located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. We know all too well the dangers that are associated with landmarks like the Ace Hotel and the lives that are devastated by negligent building owners. Our sole motivation is to fight for your rights and secure the funds you deserve, whether you are the injured party or someone that lost a loved one. We are also dedicated to protecting your finances with the Zero Fee Guarantee – a policy where all legal fees are charged to the defendant. That means our expenses are included in your settlement award, and there’s nothing for you to pay in the event we don’t win your case.
For a free consultation on your rights and legal options, please contact us today.