Who Can Bridge Collapse Victims Sue in Pennsylvania?

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The recent Miami bridge collapse has had its first lawsuit filed by an injured victim.  The lawsuit was filed by a bike rider who was struck by a car that swerved to avoid the collapsing bridge, but it is expected that other lawsuits will follow.  This case begs the question of who is responsible for a bridge collapse, and who can injured victims and their families sue for an accident like this?  If you or a loved one was injured in a collapsing bridge accident or another construction accident, the Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm explain who you might be able to sue for the accident.

Who is Responsible for Bridge Accidents?

The Miami bridge collapse on the FIU campus is a perfect example of how it can be complicated to determine who to sue after an accident.  In this case, there was a construction firm that was building the bridge based off of designs from a bridge engineering firm.  It is unclear at this time whether the design or the construction was the issue.  If the design was unsafe from the beginning, then the engineers may be at fault for the collapse.  Alternatively, if the construction firm had errors in their materials or construction techniques, they may be responsible.  It appears that the original design may have included additional supports suspended from a tower, so it is unclear if this design was changed or incomplete.

Additionally, there is the issue of the road being cleared to reopen while the bridge was still under construction.  The street that travels under the bridge was originally closed while the bridge was lifted into place, but it was allowed to reopen while the construction continued.  If this was unsafe, the officials in charge of that decision may be responsible for the injuries.

To further complicate matters, there was a large crack discovered in the bridge before the collapse.  Experts had stated that it did not affect the structural integrity of the bridge.  Still, the street remained open without warning the public about the crack, then the bridge collapsed.  It is unclear if this crack did affect the structural integrity and whether leaving the roadway open was a negligent decision.

Throughout this process, we can see multiple potential targets for a lawsuit: the engineers who designed the bridge, the construction firm that built the bridge, the officials who allowed the road to reopen, and the property owner who paid for the bridge in the first place.  With this case, it is unclear which specific party is responsible.  In other bridge collapse cases, the potentially at-fault parties are similar, and you may be entitled to sue many or all of these parties.

Damages for a Bridge Collapse Case

The Florida bridge collapse case is an unfortunate tragedy that left multiple people dead and many more injured.  If you or a loved one was involved in a similar tragedy, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries or losses.  If this accident had occurred in Pennsylvania, there are multiple types of compensation you could be entitled to.

First, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for any harms you suffered.  If you were the victim of the injury, this could include, primarily, damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.  These damages seek to compensate you for financial harms you suffered, such as the cost of medical treatment, any wages you missed if you had to miss work or cannot return to work, and direct compensation for your physical pain and mental suffering.

If a loved one was killed in an accident, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.  This can help you recover compensation that they would have received if they survived, such as pain and suffering damages and medical expenses.  In addition, you can recover for the harms you suffered as a loved one, such as the loss of companionship, lost wages from your deceased family member, any lost inheritance, and the cost of funeral and burial expenses.

If the negligence was especially bad, you may be entitled to additional damages used to punish the bad actors.  If a bridge engineering firm used a design they knew to be unsafe from previous cases, if the construction firm intentionally substituted weak materials, or if officials allowed an obviously flawed bridge to be opened, this could put many people at risk for injury or death.  A court may punish these parties by awarding their victims additional compensation called “punitive damages” or “exemplary damages.”

Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers for Bridge Collapse Victims

If you or a loved one was the victim of a bridge collapse or died from a construction accident, talk to an attorney about filing a lawsuit for compensation.  For a free consultation on your case, contact The Reiff Law Firm today.  Our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys have decades of experience handling personal injury cases on behalf of victims and their families.  To schedule your free consultation, contact our law offices today at (215) 246-9000.

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