Emergency personnel responded to Sandpiper Cove condominiums last Wednesday after a second-floor balcony collapsed. A total of 11 people were taken off-scene for medical care, with six of the victims being transported to Destin Emergency Care and five of the victims taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. The victims had been celebrating a friend’s 82nd birthday when the deck collapsed. While no injuries appeared to be life-threatening, Destin Battalion Chief Mark Hutchinson said two of the victims were labeled as “trauma alerts,” while three others were deemed “trauma standbys.” Hutchinson also labeled the incident a “catastrophic” collapse.
One of the oldest condominium complexes in Destin, Sandpiper Cove consists of 631 privately-owned units that sit on 43 acres of land. Built in 1973, the housing complex is now set to undergo an inspection from building professionals in light of the deck collapse incident. While a thorough investigation should determine the cause of the incident, it may also reveal deficiencies in the building process which could have played a factor as well. Fortunately, construction litigation does hold developers, contractors, building material manufacturers, and design professionals accountable for their individual roles in the construction process, particularly if it can be determined that negligence of some kind led to an accident that could have otherwise been prevented.
The cause of this specific incident has yet to be determined, but building owners do have an obligation to provide residents with safe living spaces that are free of danger when utilized properly. In any instance where a building owner fails to properly construct or maintain a dwelling, that failure to do so can potentially be deemed “negligence” via the litigation process. However, the process of determining negligence is extensive.
To successfully litigate these cases, expert witness testimony is often required. These experts need to be fully qualified in their respective fields, respected for their knowledge and expertise in that field, and capable of discussing complex industry standards in clear and concise language while offering their professional insight. Matters ranging from building code violations to construction defects to standards of care in construction, are all closely reviewed and considered when determining negligence in a construction litigation case.
The Wilmington construction defect injury attorneys at Rhine Law Firm, P.C. have years of experience successfully handling cases in matters relating to construction litigation. For information about how our law firm can represent your legal interests, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can meet you at our office during business hours, after business hours, on weekends if more convenient, or even come to you if you need us to.