The bridge that collapsed last Thursday near the Florida International University campus killed 6 people and injured others nearby. One of these victims, a man who was injured on his bicycle when a car swerved to avoid the collapse, has already filed a lawsuit, and it is believed that the family of at least one deceased victim will also be suing for the collapse. Miami bridge collapse lawyer Prosper Shaked explains who these parties may be suing, and who can be held responsible if you or a loved one was injured in this catastrophe or a similar bridge collapse.
Who is Responsible for a Bridge Collapse Accident?
In this case, the bridge was designed by a bridge engineering firm and installed by a construction firm. It is unclear at this point who was responsible for the collapse, but these two entities are the two most likely targets of any lawsuits. The list of responsible parties will likely include the following companies and organizations:
- FIGG Bridge Engineers – The company that designed the walkway
- Munilla Construction Management LLC – The company that built the bridge
- Bolton Perez & Associates – The project’s consulting engineer
- Louis Berger – This company conducted an independent peer review of the bridge’s construction
- Network Engineering Services, Inc.
- Florida International University
- The Florida Department of Transportation
In a collapse like this, the cause is likely either the design of the bridge or construction issues. It has come out that there was a large crack in the bridge, but this does not yet indicate whether the design or the construction was the problem. However, there is evidence that the original design may have included an additional tower with tension cables to support the bridge. If this design was not carried out, the deviation from the design could make the construction firm responsible.
Regardless, many personal injury lawyers would include both parties in any lawsuits, especially lawsuits filed this early in the case. As the investigation has not yet concluded, there is no definitive answer as to who was responsible for the bridge collapse, and it is better to include any potentially at-fault parties in the lawsuit. If it turns out that only one party was liable, the court will dismiss the case against the other parties, but you can still proceed with your claims against the liable party. Additional responsible parties will likely be revealed as litigation continues. These additional defendants can be added to the lawsuit or sued separately at any point prior to the statute of limitations expiring.
Who Can Sue for the Bridge Collapse?
Whenever you are injured in an accident, you can take the responsible parties to court for the incident. Some Miami car accidents have limited opportunities to go to court, requiring certain levels of injury. This means that the victims who were in their cars when they were injured may have a different process for filing their case. However, injuries over a certain monetary threshold or of a certain level of seriousness can always go straight to court.
If you were personally injured, you can sue for those injuries. This can help you get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages if you have to miss work during your recovery, and direct compensation for your pain and suffering. Injured victims may include those who were injured in the cars below, pedestrians crossing under the bridge, or the construction workers. In other accidents, you can also sue if you were injured on the bridge when it collapsed.
The families of the victims can also sue for a loved one’s death. Parents, spouses, and children can sue for the accidental death of a loved one, holding the negligent parties responsible. They can seek compensation for various things, such as the deceased’s end-of-life medical bills and pain and suffering, any wages no longer received to support their family, any losses in inheritances, and the costs of funeral and burial expenses.
Miami FIU Bridge Collapse Case
The bridge that collapsed near the FIU campus was part of a project designed to help pedestrians get from one side of the street to the campus without having to cross busy roadways. This project was intended to help improve safety, but this collapse was a huge setback.
The bridge was not finished, meaning that this could be classified as a construction accident. It is always important if you work, live, or commute near an active construction site to be on the lookout for structural weaknesses or loose debris that could fall and injure you. If you see something, it is important to tell someone about it.
In many cases, the responsible parties will claim that they had no knowledge of the potential danger. In this case, that kind of defense seems unlikely. In a strange turn of events, only hours before the collapse, there was allegedly a meeting to discuss a large crack that had formed in the bridge. Officials reportedly believed that the crack did not affect the structural integrity, so the road was not closed and construction continued on the bridge. It is unclear how this miscalculation will affect any lawsuits stemming from the collapse, but it could potentially place some liability on the officials who underestimated the crack and failed to close the road below the bridge.
Call a Miami Bridge Collapse and Construction Injury Lawyer with Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, talk to a Miami personal injury lawyer. This bridge collapse is a startling example of surprising opportunities for catastrophic injury that can leave friends or family with serious injuries. For a free consultation on any personal injury case, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today at (305) 694-2676.