On June 24, 2021, around 1:25 a.m., a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Surfside neighborhood of Miami, Florida partially collapsed.
As of Monday, July 12, 2021, the so-called Surfside condo collapse was responsible for 94 deaths and 11 injuries, and as many as 22 people remained “potentially unaccounted for.” According to Slate, the collapse of the Champlain Towers South “may prove to be the deadliest building accident in U.S. history.”
Now, officials, journalists, bereaved family members, and concerned neighbors alike are frantically trying to figure out what caused the condo to collapse – and who is to blame.
Why Did Champlain Towers South Collapse?
There are many potential causes of the Surfside condo collapse. From design flaws to uncompleted repairs and maintenance, many factors may have contributed to the tragedy.
Some theories include:
- A flat pool slab, which caused water to puddle and corrode the concrete below
- Ocean water that pooled in the garage and other damage from the elements
- A sinkhole formed underneath the condo and caused the collapse
- $9 million worth of uncompleted repairs
- Improper maintenance
Despite numerous theories, authorities are still investigating the building collapse, and a cause has not yet been determined. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett explains:
“Buildings in America do not just fall down like this. There is a reason. We need to find out what that reason is.”
Lawsuits Are Already Underway
Within 24 hours, residents and family members filed the first lawsuit related to the Surfside condo collapse. Plaintiffs sued the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association seeking damages for negligence. All residents may join the lawsuit – people who were fortunate enough to survive the collapse still lost their homes. According to the complaint, the Association “could have prevented the collapse of Champlain Towers South through the exercise of ordinary care, safety measures and oversight.”
Other defendants include Morabito Consultants, which flagged major structural damage during a 2018 report, and SD Architectures. Officials have highlighted the possibility of criminal charges.
Other possible players in the building’s collapse may include:
- William M. Friedman & Associates Architects Inc. and Breiterman Jurado & Associates, Consulting Engineers – the team responsible for the condo’s design
- Surfside, Florida – a Surfside building official reviewed the report from Morabito Consultant and decided the building was in “very good shape.”
- Miami-Dade County – granted recertification, and there could be a fatal flaw in the assessment process
Again, investigations and lawsuits are underway, and many people have theories about who and what caused the Surfside condo collapse, but right now, there simply isn’t an answer.
The legal theories at play are the same as those involved in slip, trip, and fall accidents. Ultimately, the people in charge of the building may have failed to keep residents safe.
At Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC, our hearts are with the victims of the Surfside tragedy, their loved ones, and all residents of the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association.
We will be tracking the litigation, and our team is always here to help you with accidents involving unsafe properties or premises.
If you have questions about your legal rights when it comes to your Florida property, or you have been hurt due to dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, feel free to call us at (866) 675-4427 or contact us online to discuss your situation during a free consultation.