Beam Collapses

A New York beam collapse lawyer can often assist victims recoup their losses. Beam collapses are a grave concern when a structure’s integrity has been compromised. Given that beams are nearly universally used in building support, any damage to them can lead to the loss of the entire structure, not to mention cause loss of life and/or serious injury.

What Kinds of Beams Are Most Dangerous?

beam-collapseMuch of what determines a beam’s quality lies in its ability to withstand load and resist bending. Beams are place horizontally as structural elements. They may be used to distribute loads from roofs and other structures above them; they also offer frame support. Most commonly beams are constructed of steel, wood, or reinforced concrete. A variety of designs of beams are used widely, including the I-beam and wide-flange, or universal beam. One really cannot understate the importance beams have played in architectural and cultural development over the past several thousand years since they were first used by the Egyptians. That said, when they collapse, disaster generally ensues. An incident that occurred in 2008 illustrates this point.

A massive bridge construction project in Louisiana was brought to a halt when a beam holding workers collapsed under them, sending ten workers 35 feet into Lake Pontchartrain below. Several tons of equipment fell with them and were lost in the depths. Most of the workers, fortunately, fared well. Only three were airlifted to a hospital for treatment. Six suffered minor injuries that were treated at the scene. However, one worker lost his life, buried at the bottom of the lake under the equipment that fell with them. How the concrete beam failed remained under investigation.

Building Codes

Indeed, strict New York building codes require that beams and the welds or bolts that hold them in place are thoroughly checked for structural integrity. How, then, can they fail? Age is certainly a factor. As buildings age, so do the materials they are comprised of. Earthquakes and other natural forces can weaken their welds. Fires can render them unstable. Indeed, a major hazard for firefighters who enter buildings is beams or other elements meant to stabilize structures that have been damaged. Finally, while laws are in place governing design and quality assurance, some contractors cut corners.

Should a victim be fortunate enough to survive a beam collapse, among the more common injuries he may suffer are damage to the spine, broken bones, and those which involve the head and neck. It is not unusual for victims to suffer the crushing of a leg or arm, or part of the torso. When an injury accident occurs, the victim may have no recourse but to call a New York beam collapse lawyer to assist with a claim.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a New York personal injury accident, the experienced personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Please contact us at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5486) for a free and comprehensive consultation. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.