The October 2019 collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans showed the world the dangerous consequences that can happen during the building construction process. Lives were lost and many people were injured. What happens next, and how are construction site injury cases different from “typical” personal injury cases?
Construction injury cases are very complicated and potentially involve claims against the construction company, subcontractors, engineers, architects, and potentially other parties as well. As a result, there could be four or five or more parties being sued by the injured party or the family of the person who was killed as a result of the construction site failure. Each company or person being sued will generally hire their own attorney, so we are dealing with complex multi-party litigation which can be very intense and time-consuming. It’s the job of the attorney for the injured person, or the family for the person killed in the accident, to push the case forward.
Besides dealing with the medical/legal part of the case, these construction site cases always involve expert witnesses, often with the expert witness of one Defendant pointing the finger at another Defendant. The attorney for the Plaintiff will often need to hire multiple expert witnesses in order to prove our case and rebut the expert opinion of the people hired by the various Defendants. As a result, these construction site injury cases end up being expensive due to various experts that need to be retained by counsel. Attorneys who handle these cases need the requisite experience and knowledge base to effectively navigate and understand the issues involved with these cases.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor charged with investigating serious worksite accidents. OSHA may be one of many agencies investigating this tragic incident, and experienced attorneys know how to follow up with these investigations in order to obtain information to investigate the case on their own to handle the case properly.
A video posted to social media reportedly shows the temporary supports that held up the parts of the Hard Rock hotel which were on the verge of giving way days before the deadly collapse. Media coverage has revealed images of the hotel under construction before and after the collapse, and there is speculation about possible contractor shortcuts and engineering mistakes.
Many firms try to “dabble” in complicated areas of the law where they have little or no experience dealing with these issues. For over 96 years, our firm has handled personal injury cases throughout the state of Florida, including complicated multi-party construction site cases. Be sure that any attorney who is being interviewed to handle such a case has the knowledge, experience, and resources to handle such a complicated matter.
Blog is written by Managing Partner Gary S. Lesser, Esq.