As one of Florida’s leading personal injury attorneys who has helped hundreds of accident victims throughout Florida for over twenty-five years, my heart goes out to the victims of this tragedy. I have personally spent thousands of hours on construction defect cases and know that finding the cause of the catastrophe and holding responsible parties liable is only a small step toward recovery. Nothing can truly compensate those who have lived through this tragedy and those who have lost loved ones.
As the search-and-rescue mission continues, survivors of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse (June 24, 2021) near Miami have filed a lawsuit claiming the condo association failed to “secure and safeguard” their lives and property. So far, investigations have revealed that the need for repairs to the building’s concrete had been identified, but repairs had only been made to the roof.
News outlets have reported that almost three years ago, an engineering consulting firm identified serious problems in the building’s structure, including significant cracks and breaks in the building’s concrete columns, beams and walls and failed waterproofing in a concrete structural slab. The engineer’s report recommended making the necessary repairs in the near future, but, according to news reports, a Surfside, Florida building inspector told the Champlain Tower South Condominium Association the building was in “very good shape.”
Structural engineering experts have been studying video footage of the building’s shocking collapse for clues as to what caused the catastrophe. So far, they are looking closely for evidence that the collapse began in the lowest part of the building and spread throughout the structure, but news sources report that understanding the “catastrophic collapse” is still far from complete. Experts agree that several factors could have caused the collapse, including corrosion, design flaws or construction errors.
As in many Florida personal injury cases, identifying the cause(s) of the catastrophe and those responsible for it will require lengthy, intensive investigation. Similarly, understanding the magnitude of the victims’ losses and making sure they are compensated fairly for their losses will require months of information-gathering, examination, preparation and experience handling complex legal claims.