Building Collapse and the Law

Jun 25, 2021 | Allen A. Ritchie

Florida Condo Collapse

Photo Courtesy Miami-Dade Fire Rescue


The horrific collapse of a beachfront condo in Florida has many in the Mobile area wondering about the legal aspects of such a tragedy. From my years of personal injury law experience, here is what I suspect will happen.

First, there will be lots of finger-pointing as lawyers try to determine who is to blame. The reason for this will be getting money for victims’ losses. This is not greed; these people deserve compensation. There are medical bills, loss of income, damaged property, and many other losses and expenses.

You might think that those responsible for the safety of the residents would rush to help the survivors and the residents’ families. This has not been my experience.

Here is a typical example.

You may remember when a Chicago balcony collapsed during a party several years ago. In falling, it brought down two balconies beneath it, killing more than a dozen people and injuring nearly 60 others. In the end, it was discovered that the developers never got a permit to build the balcony. Add to that, the structure had improper supports and screws which were too short to hold the balcony to the wall. Remarkably, the site was inspected 5 times by the city of Chicago, and it had never received a code violation.

Despite this, builders blamed the victims saying too many people were on the balcony. The city even sued two of the survivors but later dropped the suit.

Here is the real financial irony: insurance will likely pay the owners for “lost use of the building” years before paying any victims.

Eventually, I believe, the system will work, and the victims will receive their compensation. However, it will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money.

If you suffer a personal injury like an auto accident, or slip and fall, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Also, join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30, right after the news. We will take your calls live.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer