A commercial property landlord, a contractor overseeing repairs, and a company that performed unpermitted repairs were sued by the family of a man performing HVAC work who died after falling through a defective skylight.
Commercial building accident attorney Sean M. Cleary was part of the team of lawyers in this case that reached its conclusion with a $12 million jury verdict for the man's family.
Mr. Cleary was able to help secure this incredible victory for the family after their son died from injuries sustained when falling through an improperly maintained roof he was repairing.
The victim's family filed suit alleging negligence of:
- The commercial property landlord who did not keep their buildings up to code
- The contractor who oversaw the roof repairs
- The roofing services that performed unpermitted repairs
The accident happened as the victim was performing HVAC work on the roof of a warehouse in Miami-Dade County, fell through an old and brittle skylight 20 feet down to the concrete floor below, and suffered a massive brain injury. His team claimed they had no warning about the safety of the skylights made from old materials no longer approved for building. The young worker was in a vegetative state for a year and a half and passed away at 23.
Before the tragic accident took place, the owner of the warehouse hired a roofing company for repairs. However, the contractor and roofers violated the Florida law when they:
- Replaced the old roof of this warehouse without a permit
- Didn't bring the skylight up to 2014 Florida Building Code standards
- Didn't fortify the skylights original to the building, dating back to 1988
The warehouse skylights were made out of acrylic, which is no longer approved as a building material since 1994.
Inadequate Building Maintenance Causing Injuries
All commercial property landlords must maintain their properties up to code and make reasonable repairs to avoid injuries to anyone on their property. However, landlords are often behind in:
any dangerous conditions. It is only after the dangerous conditions on their property lead to someone's injury that most property owners take steps to repair hazardous conditions.
The commercial property landlord is usually liable if they created the hazard, knew, or should have known about the danger. For example, the company doing repairs reports that a skylight is old and damaged. If the commercial building landlord fails to make repairs or makes them negligently, and somebody is injured, they will have to pay damages.
Who Is At Fault For Inadequate Building Maintenance?
An injured worker, visitor, customer, or tenant may be able to sue for compensatory damages, both economic and non-economic. Economic damages that they can recover include:
- Medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost income
Non-economic damages that they can recover include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
The spouse or domestic partner of an injury victim may also claim loss of consortium.
A property owner can sometimes share liability with a third party retained to fix a dangerous condition. For example, in the situation presented in this article, the company retained to perform the roof repairs, and the contractor who oversaw the repairs were also at fault.
In most jurisdictions, maintaining the property safe from risks is the landlord's duty. They are ultimately responsible for the maintenance of their commercial building up to code.
Injured in a Commercial Building Accident? Contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary
Severe injuries can occur when a property owner does not take care of their commercial building. In the worst accidents, some of these injuries can even lead to fatalities.
At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we understand how troubling it can be to endure an injury caused by someone's negligence. When catastrophic injury or death occurs because of negligent commercial building maintenance, the property owner, management company, contractor or others could be held liable in a lawsuit.
Commercial building owners are responsible for keeping their properties up to the Florida Building Code and free of hazards.