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How Do You Assign Fault In A Public Accident?

   How Do You Assign Fault In A Public Accident?Thursday, March 15, 2018 is going to be a date that will be remembered by everyone at the Florida International University in Miami. A pedestrian bridge that was still not considered complete, and wouldn’t be fully operational until 2019 collapsed, killing six people and burying vehicles that were passing under it. The tragic irony of the situation is that the bridge had originally been built in order to save lives, as a way to prevent more traffic accidents with students hit by cars as they attempted to cross the street.

This is not like typical cases that a personal injury lawyer would normally take. In the majority of cases, there will be a vehicular incident, such as a car crash, or there may be an accident on the job that causes an injury, or there may even be some negligence at work in a place of business, such as people taking a fall due to slippery, just washed tile on a floor.

But an entire bridge collapsing before it is even fully constructed is a very unusual situation. This is not a case of someone getting distracted for a moment looking at the phone while driving. It is not a janitor at a shopping mall deciding to wait a few minutes before cleaning a spill. This is a very different accident and it requires a different response. So in this case, what is the legal response?

The Investigation Is The Priority

In this tragic incident, six people lost their lives, a mix of students that happened to be in cars that were passing under the bridge, and workers on the site, in the area of the bridge itself. It is impossible at this time to come up with a single, simple explanation because so little is understood about the collapse of the FIU bridge. Experts are still conducting their inquiries so even the exact cause of the collapse is unknown at this time.

This is the critical point, especially for people that may have lost a loved due to this collapse. Without an exact understanding of why the bridge collapsed, it is difficult to know how to proceed, especially if there is interest in talking to a personal injury lawyer about a personal injury or wrongful death case.

What Happens Next?

Obviously for families that have been victimized by this tragedy there needs to be a recovery period. But beyond that, explanations will be sought, not just for the sake of the family, but for the Florida International University itself that wanted to build this bridge to save lives, not endanger them. At this point in time, the only concrete fact that authorities have is that cracks were found on the bridge just two days before the collapse.
However, structural experts examined those cracks, determined they were not a risk, and said as much on recorded voice mail to people overseeing the construction.

This means that it’s not just a personal injury lawyer that needs to get to the bottom of this case, but many other groups and organizations. It could be that there was a fault in the actual quality of the construction. It could be that a flaw occurred at the design stage, or it could even be that it was the equipment that was used—a more recent technique that speeds up bridge construction—that may have inadvertently applied too much force at the wrong time and caused the accident.

Whatever the case, cause is everything in a tragedy that occurs in such a public space. The investigation must first be completed, and the cause of the collapse must be understood before fault can be assigned.