FIU Bridge Collapse Highlights Negligence Lawsuits

The bridge was supposed to save lives. Built near the campus of Florida International University (FIU), the pedestrian bridge, which cost $14.2 million and was quickly constructed using accelerated technology, was intended to protect students as they crossed the busy highways around the Miami campus.

Tragedy in Miami

Instead, the bridge ended up killing six people and severely injuring several others when it collapsed on March 15th.

The bridge was still under construction and not yet in use for pedestrians. Cracks were reported underneath the bridge, but the issue went ignored, even after one of the bridge’s designers informed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Cars continued to drive underneath until the bridge collapsed, crushing vehicles beneath tons of concrete.

While traffic accidents occur often in the United States, a tragedy like this is wholly unexpected. But according to a lawsuit filed by one of the victims it might not have been as unpreventable as it seems.

Who is at Fault for FIU Bridge Collapse?

The lawsuit claims that the design and construction companies that worked on the bridge acted negligently. By not properly addressing the cracks and failing to divert traffic underneath the bridge, the lawsuit says that the companies put people in danger.

Though the lawsuit names the design and construction companies, it’s still unclear who is to blame for the accident. While the cracks seem like a likely cause, there is still the question of who knew about the issue. Are the design and construction companies liable for causing the track. Or was FDOT the negligent party for failing to heed the warning? What role did FIU play? Between FIU, FDOT, and the companies that worked on the bridge, there has been a lot of finger-pointing in recent days, but as the investigation continues, hopefully the families of the victims will find some relief and justice.

Types of Roadway Negligence

The collapse of an entire bridge is a rare occurrence. Roadway accidents caused by negligence maintenance, however, are not entirely uncommon. Roadway maintenance issues that might lead to accidents include:

  • Potholes
  • Faded or missing road markers, like line markers or turn arrows
  • Debris, like downed trees after a hurricane
  • Uneven pavement
  • Poor drainage
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Missing or broken guardrails
  • Erosion

If a driver comes into contact with a roadway hazard, it could lead to an accident. For example, a sudden pothole in the road could cause a car to spin out of control, leading to a collision with a nearby object or other vehicle. Oftentimes, accidents involving negligent maintenance are single-vehicle crashes.

Determining Roadway Negligence

Roads maintenance may be the responsibility of cities, counties, or the state. This makes it difficult to determine who is responsible for an accident. One agency might be responsible for some areas of maintenance, while another might be responsible for another area of the same road.

To hold an agency responsible for negligence in road maintenance, it must be proven that they acted negligently. This means that they knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition. For example, if a state agency fails to address a missing guardrail, tthey would likely be considered negligent. On the other hand, if a piece of debris suddenly sweeps into a driver’s path, it would be difficult to hold someone liable.

When a driver is injured or killed through something out of their control, whether it’s a bridge collapse or a faulty guardrail, it is important to find someone to hold responsible.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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