Earlier this month, a pedestrian bridge collapsed at the Florida International University. Six people were killed and nine were injured. One of those injured—a cyclist—has filed the first lawsuit following this tragic accident.
According to the lawsuit, 24-year-old Marquise Rashaad Hepburn was cycling under the bridge when a large section of the bridge fell onto the roadway below. To avoid being crushed by the 174-foot span of concrete, a motor vehicle driver swerved, crashing into Hepburn. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.
Hepburn’s lawsuit claims that the negligence of three companies contributed to the bridge collapse. It names the company responsible for designing and constructing the bridge, the company responsible for providing inspection services, and the company responsible for reviewing the bridge’s design.
Tests Were Being Performed at Time of Collapse
The brand-new pedestrian bridge wasn’t even officially open when the collapse occurred. All of the victims were on the roadway below. Inspectors had noticed some cracking a few days earlier, but said the cracks were not a safety issue. According to the complaint, stress tests of the bridge were being conducted on the morning of the collapse. Workers adjusted the bridge’s tension rods, a delicate process which can become problematic if a rod is over-tightened or made too loose.
Had traffic been re-routed during these tests, the injuries and fatalities could have been avoided. Further, a March 13 voicemail left by the bridge project’s lead engineer for an official of the Florida Department of Transportation, reveals the engineer’s comments about visible cracks in the bridge. According to the lawsuit, the engineer didn’t seem overly concerned with the cracks.
In addition to the pending civil lawsuit, the Miami-Dade Police Department is launching a criminal investigation into the matter.
What Causes a Bridge to Collapse?
Bridge failure can occur for myriad reasons. Some of the most common include:
- Design defects
- Improper construction materials
- Inadequate maintenance
- Inadequate inspections
In many cases, bridges that collapse are quite old, and the failure is due to lack of or improper maintenance. However, even brand new bridges can fail as a result of miscalculations in measurements or cable size. And sometimes, bridge collapses occur from improper use. For example, if a bridge that was designed for pedestrians only begins carrying motor vehicle traffic without any type of reengineering, the consequences could be disastrous. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
Who is at Fault?
Sadly, despite federal regulations, many of the bridges across the United States are plagued with dangerous cracks, rust and other weaknesses. These problems often go unresolved until a high-profile bridge collapse sends cities scrambling to address their problem bridges. So, who is at fault for a bridge collapse? This depends on multiple factors, but the parties most likely to be liable include the municipality or property owner, bridge designer, company responsible for construction and installation, maintenance company, parts manufacturers and third-party vendors.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Personal Injury Law Firm
If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can get on with your life. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys will thoroughly analyze the details of your case to determine the most appropriate legal strategy, and we’ll remain by your side throughout the entire process. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP for a free and confidential consultation about your case.