Structural Support Failure

The leading Maine structural support failure attorneys of Peter Thompson & Associates are respected and admired for their excellence in personal injury law. We have successfully represented numerous individuals injured in construction accidents caused by structural support failures and other forms of negligence. Our law firm provides dedicated representation to injury victims throughout the State of Maine.

Most construction accidents are caused by structural support failures. Permanent structures such as balconies and bridges also collapse when their structural support system buckles under pressure. General physics show that support systems must be able to withstand external and internal forces exerted on the structure. When the system is internally unstable, the structure cannot maintain its shape and is vulnerable to displacement by small disturbances. Temporary support structures used for construction are good examples. The collapse of scaffolds and premature formwork is the number one cause of construction injuries and fatalities in the United States. When structural supports holding high rise buildings and other construction sites buckle, they take people with them, causing dangerous falls and even death under the weight of the debris.

Common examples of structural support failures include:

  • Columns, beams
  • Cantilevers, hinges
  • Foundation and slabs
  • Scaffolding, formwork
  • Brick and steel veneers
  • Stucco, roofing systems
  • Sloping soil and bedrock
  • Decks, platform overhangs
  • Stone masonry retaining walls

Most injuries and fatalities occur when there is faulty engineering or design. Contractors can also fail to build structures as they were intended, resulting in collapse from structural failure. One of the most common mistakes in building a high-rise is to prematurely remove the formwork on lower floors. This takes away the support for fresh concrete being poured on the floors above, causing the slabs to collapse. Premature loading of a slab on an unsupported metal deck can similarly cause a collapse, severely injuring the workers. Scaffolds and construction hoists also buckle when the legs of the landing truss are not properly braced. The failure to brace tall scaffolds against multiple floors of the building may cause the entire structure to fall.

Structural support failures are generally caused by negligence. OSHA, for example, requires that the structural design of scaffolds support four times the intended load without failure. OSHA may issue multiple fines against engineers who negligently design structural supports. The engineer of record is responsible for identifying weak spots that need shoring and noting any deficiencies that could result in injury. On the construction side, the lead contractor is responsible for completing thorough inspections to ensure that structural supports are sound. Because they are responsible for the “means and methods” of shoring supports and removing formwork, contractors are in the best position to prevent this type of failure. Whether the structural support failure was caused by the engineer or contractor, federal and state laws hold all negligent parties liable. Anyone who exercises control over the job site has a duty to protect people on the property from unreasonable harm. They are legally liable and responsible when structural support failures and other construction defects injure other parties. The injured victim is entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

If you think that a structural support failure is responsible for your injuries, contact the experienced Maine structural support failure lawyers of Peter Thompson & Associates today. We are recognized leaders in personal injury law. We perform a comprehensive investigation of the destruction at failure sites and identify all sources of negligence, including engineers and contractors. At Peter Thompson & Associates, we are dedicated to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve. You will receive the highest quality legal representation from passionate advocates devoted to achieving the best outcome possible at trial or through settlement. Call (800) 804-2004 for a free consultation or contact us online.

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