Parking Garage Failure- Early Reports Suggest Negligence
New York City is in large part a City made up of buildings, some of which are the sky scrapers that Manhattan is famous for, but many others are small multi story buildilng. The ability of New York CIty to funcition is dependent on the structural integrity of its buildings. Unfortunately, when proper maintenance protocols are ignored by unscrupulous property owners, the results can be tragic.
On April 18, 2023, there was a tragic, but preventable garage collapse in Manhattan that resulted in numerous personal injuries as well as significant property damage. A five-story parking garage in the St. Ann district of Manhattan collapsed, resulting in the death one person and several injuries. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation by local authorities. Emergency responders quickly arrived on the scene to provide medical aid to those affected by the incident. In addition to providing medical support, the responders also initiated a search in order to locate any individuals who may still be trapped under the rubble. The construction site is currently being examined for safety and security by local officials. The collapse of the Ann Street parking garage has raised questions about safety in Manhattan's buildings and infrastructure.
Our New York City personal injury lawyers know that structural failures in buildings don't usually occur if the buildings are maintained by their owners and management companies. Inspectors with the NYC Department of Buildings said they conducted a thorough inspection back in 2021 and found no serious structural problems. However, many local residents are questioning if the building was properly maintained or if more timely inspections could have prevented this tragedy. Since the crash, at least one employee has come forward and stated that there were indications of structural problems and cracks all over the garage. This employee has also come forward and asserted a few weeks ago the owners were in the garage taking pictures of cracks in the building, also they were there on the morning of the collapse, This information is highly indicative that the owners of the property were negligent in failing to maintain their property and address strutural issues in their garage. Even more egregrious, the owners continued to operate the property in a business as usual manner, with knowlege of these hazards and in so doing put the lives and safety of the building's employees and their customers at risk. In fact, New York City has several local laws that require periodic inspections of the building's facade, and if this local law was complied with, this should have put the building's owners on notice of conditions that were dangerous and which if addressed earlier, could have prevented this tragedy. Our NYC personal injury lawyers who sue landlords for dangerous conditions know that accidents such as these are entirely preventable.
In 2019, another Manhattan Parking garage roof collapse of 2019 was a devastating event that resulted in extensive damage and disruption to the surrounding area. The cause of the collapse has been attributed to concrete structural failure due to prior violations, as well as a lack of maintenance and inspections. The authorities involved have taken steps to ensure that similar events do not occur again, by introducing rigorous inspections and enforcement of regulations. Unfortunately, the accident caused serious injuries for those who were inside or in the vicinity during the collapse.
According to statistics from the NYC Building Department, over the past decade structural failure incidents have decreased by 20%. The department attributes this improvement to their proactive prevention efforts such as increased inspections and education initiatives. They also attribute it to improved building codes and materials that are better able to withstand extreme weather conditions. As a result, the number of structural failure-related injuries and fatalities is at an all-time low. Unfortunately renegade property owners who do not comply with the laws and the necessity to follow diligent maintenance protocols.
Structural failures can occur in buildings due to a variety of factors. Poor design and construction practices, inadequate maintenance, structural overloads, soil settlement or movements, corrosion of materials, fires, floods and other natural disasters are some of the common causes of structural failure. Design errors that are not identified before construction can result in serious structural problems such as inadequate load-bearing capacity and instability. Improper maintenance or deferred repairs can also cause structural failure, as can the use of materials that lack adequate strength or durability. Finally, corrosion of metal components due to corrosion or other factors can lead to structural failure. All of these causes of structural failure can be mitigated through proper design, construction, maintenance and inspection processes. Regular inspections can help to identify potential problems before they become serious enough to cause structural failure.