Bridge Collapse Lawyer in New York
During evening rush hour in August of 2007 one of the most significant bridge collapses in recent years occurred. 145 Minnesotans were injured when the massive I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapsed. 13 more were killed. The bridge had been used by 140,000 commuters each day; the National Traffic Safety Board determined that the collapse was caused by a design flaw.
An earthquake during rush hour on opening day of the 1989 World Series in San Francisco caused the Oakland Bay Bridge to collapse. Just as frightening was the collapse of a second level roadway down onto the first. While only 42 people lost their lives under the road collapse, and a single death was reported in the bridge collapse, commuters were stranded, and traffic disrupted for months. The only reason more individuals were not killed was because so many had left early to see the game.
New York City has not seen any bridge collapses of this scale, but with 2,027 bridges city wide, it may just be a matter of time. Also, smaller disasters may require the services of a New York bridge collapse lawyer.
Millions of Americans at Risk
Millions of Americans rely on over 600,000 bridges to get to work, school, appointments, and shopping. What is particularly unfortunate about the Minnesota bridge collapse is that such accidents occur quite often. And when they do, large numbers of individuals can be injured or killed; commuting can be left problematic for an indefinite period. In the meantime, other bridges – if there are any – are strained further. It took just over a year to replace the Mississippi River Bridge.
The Federal Aid-Highway Act of 1968 established required routine inspections of bridges. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performs tests of bridge safety. In 2003 the American Society of Civil Engineers concluded that 27% of all bridges in the nation are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. With the average bridge now over 50 years old, that percentage is bound to grow.
What Causes Bridge Collapses?
Not only are bridges getting old, they carry more traffic. Some were never designed to accommodate the number of vehicles that cross them. The past twenty years has seen a doubling of truck miles; moreover, they carry heavier loads. Each year the nation’s bridges see 3 trillion vehicle miles, 223 billion of which are trucks, according to the Department of Transportation.
Bridge collapses occur from obsolete design, wear, overuse, and weather. Floods have been cited as a major cause of collapse. What is especially alarming is how much repairing our bridge infrastructure would cost. Just maintaining bridges in their current state of disrepair would cost $650 billion over the next 50 years. Actually repairing them would cost $200 billion more.
Catastrophic injuries and death can occur when bridges founder. The builder might be held liable if the accident was due to flawed design. An individual suffering an injury in a bridge collapse would do well to call a New York bridge collapse lawyer to determine whether he has grounds for a claim, and assistance through the process.
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.