When you rent an apartment, you have the right to expect that the premises are safe and secure. Of course, things can break down and injuries do happen, but landlords have an obligation to inspect and maintain their properties. Additionally, they must listen to their tenants and take care of any hazards that can lead to an accident. One such accident involves collapsing roofs, which can cause severe injuries, including death.
If you were injured by or lost a loved to a roof collapse, help may be available through a personal injury lawsuit. Landlords owe renters a duty of care, and if an accident is caused by their negligence or misconduct, you have the right to sue them for monetary damages, such as:
- Medical expenses to treat your injuries
- Physical therapy and other rehabilitative services
- Money for long-term care (additional surgeries, home health aide, etc.)
- Lost wages / loss of expected earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Funeral costs
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of benefits (pension, inheritance, healthcare, etc.)
- Property damage
- Legal fees
- Punitive damages
The premises liability lawyers of DTLA have what it takes to recover the settlement you deserve. We have decades of experience in claims involving private landlords and property management companies. Our job is to represent your rights and ensure that you receive the justice you deserve. Contact our attorneys and schedule a free consultation at your earliest convenience.
Conditions that can lead to a Roof Collapse
We mentioned that landlords have a duty of care to their tenants, which includes the repair and removal of hazards that can cause a roof to collapse. Here are some conditions that can lead to an apartment roof collapse:
- Accumulated snow, ice, leaves, and tree branches, which puts excess weight and pressure on the roof.
- Water damage from leaking pipes that affect the roof’s structural integrity.
- Structural damage from fires.
- Excess weight due to water from storms and hurricanes.
- Damage from high winds (tornadoes and rainstorms).
- Too much weight on the roof from large and heavy objects (usually from using the roof as a storage area).
- Improperly constructed / installed roof (building code violations).
- Skylights, raised roofs, and other renovations that affect the roof’s overall safety.
- Not scheduling regular inspections and maintaining the roof.
By far, inspecting and making needed repairs on the roof are the most effective ways to prevent the roof from collapsing. Unfortunately, many landlords neglect these duties in order to save money. This is unacceptable when you consider the devastating effects of a roof collapse. These accidents can easily result in fatality, which makes them particularly dangerous to one or more people inside an apartment building.
Injuries from a Collapsing Roof
Roof collapses are one of the most serious accidents when it comes to the potential for long-term or lifelong injuries. Those who are crushed by or trapped under a collapsed roof also face a high risk of death, due to the severity of their injuries. An apartment roof collapse can cause people inside or near the building to suffer from:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Head injuries – concussion, traumatic brain injuries, skull fracture
- Damage to internal organs – puncturing or rupturing of the organ
- Partial or total vision loss from damage to the eyes
- Neck / spinal cord injury
- Permanent scars
- Paralysis and other permanent disabilities
While most injury victims in these situations are tenants, guests, repair technicians, delivery drivers, and other legitimate visitors can also be harmed. Even someone standing right outside the building can be hurt from falling debris when a roof suddenly collapses. If negligence by the landlord or property management company was the root cause of the accident, you are entitled to compensation for your losses. Representation from our law firm is just a phone call away, so contact DTLA Law Group for a free case review.
Who Can I Sue for a Roof Collapse Accident?
The majority of these accidents can be blamed on the landlord or management firm, as they are responsible for the safety and well-being of their tenants. This obligation is defined under California’s laws of premises liability, which allows you to sue the landlord if they failed in their duty of care to you. To prove that the owner or manager failed in their duty of care, you will need to show:
- The owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition, which could potentially cause the roof to collapse.
- You, the injured party, had a right to expect that the owner would take care of these issues.
- The owner failed to take reasonable measures to resolve the hazard, nor did they warn others of any problems with the roof.
- As a result, you suffered physical and emotional damage, which gives you the right to take legal action against the owner or manager of the property.
In some cases, the at-fault party for a collapsed roof may be a third party, like the roofing company that installed or repaired the roof. For example, a roofing company may have used cheap, insufficient materials or hired workers without the necessary experience or certifications. Alternatively, manufacturers of the roofing materials can also be liable if there are defects or design flaws with their products. A thorough investigation is needed to determine who is responsible for you or your loved one’s accident. To learn more about the process of suing for a roof collapse injury, please speak with an attorney at our law firm.
Average Value for a Roof Collapse Lawsuit
Cases involving injuries from a roof collapse are worth $750,000 to $1.5 million on average, due to the severity of injuries people end up with. The extent of these injuries can easily cause disability and other permanent injuries, meaning the victim will need medical treatment, and possibly assistance from an aide, for the rest of their lives. In that case, they may be unable to return to work or find any type of gainful employment. These individuals or family members of the deceased also have emotional trauma, which require many months or years of therapy.
Wrongful death claims are another area where we see multi-million dollar case values. Settlements in the range of $2.5 million or more are common with roof collapses that result in fatality. With these cases, loved ones of the decedent face substantial, long-term losses, including loss of consortium, loss of wages that the victim would have earned, and medical expenses up to the date of death.
Please be aware that these are estimates, and your case value is something you should discuss with an attorney. Call us today and speak with a California personal injury lawyer.
How long does it take to get Paid on these Cases?
There’s no way to deny the serious nature of a collapsing roof accident, and many landlords and management companies are willing to settle. Provided there are no major complications, a settlement may be achieved within 6 to 8 months. However, we’ve had quite a few cases of leasing companies that have a long, troubled history of neglect. A major lawsuit can open up a can of worms that they want to avoid at all costs. We are confident in our ability to overcome their games and stall tactics, but doing so can add many months a case timeline. Thus, we always advise our clients that the recovery process can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. In the event we can’t negotiate a settlement with the owner or management firm, we will need to file a lawsuit on your behalf. That process can take two years or longer, depending on whether your case goes to trial.
Statute of Limitations for a Roof Collapse Injury Case
The time limit to bring a claim for damages in a roof collapse accident is two years from the date of your injuries. Normally, this refers to the date of your accident, but if your injury was not discovered until a later date, you have two years from the discovery date to file your lawsuit. Keep in mind that cases take time to investigate, and you will need to have achieved a certain level of recovery before we can calculate your losses. To ensure there is enough time to file a lawsuit, make sure to contact a lawyer right away. Once you are past the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim, you generally lose the right to sue for monetary compensation.
Free Second Opinion with one of Our Legal Experts
Unfortunately, many accident victims end up in situations where they are unhappy with their attorney. Some cases are solved through an honest conversation with your lawyer, but there’s no way to overcome an attorney’s lack of knowledge or empathy. If you’re concerned about any issues in your roof collapse injury claim, please come and see us for a free second opinion.
This consultation is similar to a second opinion you would receive from a doctor. We will examine your attorney’s work, provide you an objective assessment, and advise you of your legal options. For some clients, it may be in their best interest to start over with a new law firm. You may have thought about this already, but firing your lawyer in the middle of a case merits careful thought and consideration. One of our experts can guide you through the process, but there is no obligation to switch your lawyer. Your consultation is completely free, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Free Legal Service for Roof Collapse Injury Victims
When you’ve been harmed by or lost a loved one to a roof collapse accident, legal fees are the last thing you should worry about. At DTLA, we believe that the cost of an attorney should be paid for by the responsible party. With our Zero fee guarantee, our fees are factored into your settlement award, meaning we don’t get paid unless we win your case. If we don’t win, we eat the costs, because as we always say, “No recovery, no payment.”
Please don’t delay in contacting our office and speaking with a lawyer experienced in roof collapse injuries. We look forward to representing you and fighting for the payment you deserve.