Building Collapse Lawyer in New York City

Building Collapse Lawyer in New York City

Few New Yorkers could ever forget the collapse of the World Trade Center. Nearly 2,800 lost their lives in the incident, marking September 11, 2001, as one of the darkest days in the city’s history.

Most building collapses aren’t nearly so catastrophic, but even so, death tolls can number in the hundreds. Those who survive often face life-altering injuries and disabilities.

If you were injured in a building collapse, here’s what to know from an NYC building collapse lawyer.


What Causes Buildings To Collapse?

One moment, a building is standing strong, just like it has for the past 20+ years. The next, the entire thing comes tumbling down in a massive pile of rubble and dust clouds stretching for miles.

How can such a thing happen? What might have been done to prevent it? Below, a structural collapse attorney covers a few reasons buildings come down.

Shoddy Construction

This is the number one reason buildings collapse, and the sad thing is that it’s fully preventable. Over the years, several building collapses have occurred because of poor construction work and low-quality materials.

Such an incident happened in Iowa on May 28, 2023. The property owner’s masonry contractors were tasked with replacing the building’s brick veneer. However, it wasn’t a veneer at all but an important load-bearing structure.

Workers removed the wall without supports and ignored signs of distress. As a result, the building partially collapsed, causing multiple deaths.

Poor Foundations

Any contractor will tell you a building is only as good as its foundation. Foundations should be stable and not prone to shifting over time. A contractor who erects a building on a sandy or swampy foundation is courting disaster.


Fires don’t always cause a building to collapse, but they can do so if the building’s roof, floors, or walls are too weak. Buildings made of wood are far more likely to collapse than those crafted with fire-resistant steel. According to one report, there were 83 collapses from fires between 1994 and 2013.

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes can wipe out buildings in an instant. In April 2024, a massive earthquake struck Taiwan, toppling buildings more than 20 miles from the quake’s epicenter. The disaster cost 13 people their lives and left 963 injured.


Corrosion is a big problem for buildings near the sea (like many in New York City). You might recall the collapse of a Miami-area condo in 2021, which claimed the lives of nearly 100 people. The accident appeared to have resulted from extensive corrosion, which investigators noted should have been obvious in an inspection.

Building Collapses Cause Catastrophic Injuries for Victims

As noted above, many victims of building collapses do not survive. Some are crushed beneath rubble weighing multiple tons. Others suffer burns and electrocutions from coming into contact with exposed electrical wires. Several fall from windows and off of balconies.

Those who do survive may have a very long road to recovery. They might spend weeks or months in the hospital, sometimes in a coma. When they finally go home, they might need to undergo painful physical therapy. Some are paralyzed or otherwise disabled for life.

Who Can You Sue for a Building Collapse?

If you’ve been hurt in a building collapse, you naturally want compensation. A good building collapse lawyer will fight aggressively to help you recover damages.

The trouble is that you might not know who to make a claim against. Can you sue the property owner? Possibly. If the owner knew the building was dangerous and failed to fix the problem, you might have a case against them. Building inspectors and maintenance staff may also be liable.

What if your house collapsed? You may be able to sue the contractor or construction company that built it.

Contact a construction collapse attorney if you’re unsure who is liable for the accident. An experienced legal professional can help determine who is to blame to ensure you make a claim against the correct party.

Gathering Evidence for a Building Collapse Lawsuit

As with any personal injury, you’ll need strong evidence if you’re going to have any chance of seeking the appropriate compensation for your building collapse case. Good evidence may include the following:

  • Video footage of the collapse
  • Witness testimony from architects, engineers, and other construction industry professionals
  • Inspection and maintenance reports
  • Repair recommendations

Your attorney must also prove that the defendant acted negligently. This means proving that:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care.
  • The defendant was aware of a hazard yet didn’t fix it, thus breaching their duty of care. For example, suppose a construction company warned the building owner that the property suffered from serious corrosion. The property owner, wanting to save money, ignored the repair recommendation. This would qualify as a breach of duty.
  • This breach of duty caused an accident and injuries.
  • Because of the accident, you suffered compensable damages, such as medical bills and lost wages.

Recourse for Those Injured on the Job

Do you have any recourse if you were injured in a building collapse while on the job? Thankfully, yes. Although you can’t sue your employer, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ comp provides part of your lost wages and pays for all accident-related medical bills. If you lost a loved one in a building collapse that happened while they were working, workers’ comp provides funeral/burial benefits and weekly cash payments.

You may be able to sue a third party if they are somehow liable for the collapse. For example, suppose your employer hired subcontractors to handle some of the work on a new building. The subcontractors used shoddy materials to lower project costs. In that situation, you could hold the subcontractors liable in a lawsuit.

If workers’ compensation has denied your claim or you think you have a case against a third party, reach out to our building collapse litigation firm to learn more about your rights and options for legal recourse should you decide to pursue restitution.

Contact a Building Collapse Lawyer in NYC

You’ll need an attorney who can show proven negligence in premises liability claims to seek compensation for structural failures. Ross & Hill has years of experience handling premises liability cases like yours. Call a building failure lawyer at (718) 855-2324 for legal representation for building collapses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Construction activity commonly causes buildings to collapse, especially if the building is old or workers don’t use proper supports. Fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters can cause buildings to collapse as well, although human error remains the primary cause.

A building may collapse because of shoddy construction, termite damage, corrosion, rot, or excess weight. However, even if a building comes down suddenly, there are often warning signs that disaster is imminent. Building owners ignore these warning signs at their peril.

Homeowners’ insurance almost always covers a house collapse, as such an incident is a sudden and unforeseeable event. The only exception is if your policy specifically excludes dwelling collapses, which is rather rare.

Building owners are responsible for the majority of building collapses. They have a duty to find defects in their buildings, repair them promptly, and ensure those buildings meet safety standards. If a building owner ignored their duty of care, a building collapse lawyer can help you hold them liable.

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