Who Is Responsible For Apartment Ceiling Collapses?
The approach of winter in New York means that New Yorkers will have to deal with snow and ice. Winter weather can get heavy in the city, and it is thus integral that apartment roofs are able to withstand inclement weather. Wet snow is often heavier than one might think. Heavy snowfall and accumulation of snow may cause the roof of a building to sag, droop, or even break. Freezing and thawing ice might also compromise the structural integrity of a roof or ceiling.
If roofs are not equipped to handle the weather and collapse, it likely means injuries for those unfortunate enough to have been beneath them. These injuries are often severe and have long-lasting consequences. Who is responsible when an apartment ceiling collapses and is there anything you can do afterward? We discuss those questions here.
Establishing a Duty of Care
Property owners have a duty of care, which means that they are legally obliged to provide their residents with a safe space to live in or operate within. In an apartment, this can mean a variety of things, from ensuring that lifts are properly maintained to posting signs warning of slippery floors during routine apartment cleaning.
Maintaining the roof is also covered under the duty of care, and a failure to inspect the building for signs of roof damage – and the failure to deal with that damage once it has been identified – may open the property owner up to liability for any injuries that one may have sustained as a result of an apartment ceiling collapse.
Most property owners may already have insurance to cover possible injuries, but not all might do so. The construction and maintenance of an apartment block may also include third parties who may bear some responsibility for your apartment ceiling collapse. These parties may include:
- The roof maintenance company
- The building construction company
- The roofing contractor
- The inspector
What to Do Next
A typical New Yorker will try as much as possible to keep indoors during the harsh North Atlantic winters. It is not unreasonable to expect that the places in which we shelter are safe for us. It is also difficult for a regular person without any architectural or construction experience to determine if a building’s roof is structurally sound. You may not know how to tell if your apartment’s roof is sound; it may not even be possible to tell from your vantage point. The responsibility for ensuring that your apartment roof is properly maintained and able to withstand the ravages of winter weather belongs to your property owner and/or other associated parties. Individuals should not be held responsible for and left helpless when collapses strike.
An apartment ceiling collapse often leaves victims with life-altering injuries. The very least that one should expect is that they receive the financial compensation that they deserve to help cover medical bills and move on with life. If you are looking for a premises liability attorney to help you with a ceiling collapse case, contact us today for a free consultation.