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Emotional Harm and Premises Liability in Berkeley, California Balcony Accident

ApartmentsThe lives of 16 victims and families in Berkeley, California were forever changed on June 16, 2015, when a balcony at an apartment complex came crashing off of the structure and onto the ground, crushing anyone in its path. Unfortunately, the incident claimed the lives of six students that day, physically injured seven more, and emotionally scarring three others. Where the physical injuries are blatantly obvious, the debate continues surrounding those emotionally hurt by the incident at the Library Gardens apartment complex and if someone should be held accountable for the premises liability of the incident. The law firm of Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P is aiding those emotionally harmed in the accident by seeking monetary compensation. Attorney Timothy McMahon commented saying, "As you can imagine, it has been a nightmare and tragedy for all of those involved."

What is Premises Liability?

If you own property, such as residential or commercial building, and you invite someone onto the mentioned property, then you are directly responsible for all that goes on. This is especially true if someone is injured. It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that all equipment, structures, and landscaping are within reasonable safety standards and that if something is not up to standard, then repairs are made quickly and effectively. If the owner, manager, or whoever is in charge of the said property chooses to ignore the warning signs and something happens, it is a direct reflection of their negligence in their duties. Therefore, they are responsible for the outcome of the events. 

How Does This Apply to Emotional Harm?

With conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression being discussed more openly, many of us have felt or witnessed the crippling effects psychological trauma. There are cases of soldiers returning from war having nightmares for the rest of their lives, never being able to have a peaceful night’s rest, which affects your daily life. Other cases involve victims of sexual abuse and rape which leave these victims hyper-vigilant and constantly looking over their shoulder. This is true for any major emotional event and studies are uncovering daily that even something as small as a minor vehicle accident can have lasting effects on the psyche. The potential effects of emotional harm are unquantifiable, yet they are virtually unavoidable.

Who Is Responsible?

There is evidentiary support of the negligence of several parties. Starting with the construction of the property all the way to the property management, there were signs that were ignored or overlooked.

  • Construction: During the construction of the building in 2005, Segue Construction and its subcontractors allegedly disregarded the approved construction plans that called for plywood to be used on top of the wooden joists and, instead, used oriented strand board (OSB) instead. It is cheaper and prone to water damage. They waited until January of 2006 to waterproof the structure and during the time between October 2005 and January 2006 there were 21 rainy days and 13 inches of precipitation. Then, instead of waiting the months required to allow the wood to aerate and dry properly, the waterproofing was applied, thereby locking in moisture. As of last week, the California Contractor’s State License Board agreed that “poor workmanship” was at fault and all five contractors who worked on the Library Gardens apartment complex may lose their licenses.
  • Ownership: Not only were the proper acquisition tests allegedly not completed upon purchasing the property, the owner was allegedly told up to seven years before the accident that there was a potential for damage. There were mushrooms growing on balconies, yet allegedly nothing was done. Even in the brief time that the women lived in the apartment, it was noted that they noticed a fungal growth outbreak as well as noticed the floor dropping when anyone stood on it. These issues should have been addressed by the property manager at the time of the last tenants vacated.
Contact an Experienced San Jose Legal Team

There are several instances of negligence here that the construction company and/or the property management company could have avoided such a life-altering disaster. If you or someone you love has sustained an injury or illness due to the negligence of someone else, you have the right to seek compensation for any losses, including but not limited to time lost at work, money spent on bills, and loss of your quality of life. 

It is always helpful to have someone you trust with years of experience to assist you in your legal struggle. At the law firm of Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P, our experienced attorneys on our staff who will aggressively fight for your rights. If you are looking for a San Jose, CA personal injury attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve, call us today at (408) 289-1417.

Client Reviews
I absolutely cannot speak highly enough of CMA Law, particularly of Mr. McMahon, with whom I have had the most experience. My entire family and I trusted CMA with our case following a significant and life-altering vehicle accident, and to say they delivered is putting it lightly. They were reachable & personable at every stage of this arduous, complex, and scary process, made things easier at every stage, inspired us with confidence, and delivered results. If you're looking for a law firm to place the trust of you in your family in, look absolutely no further than CMA - this is your firm. Declan O.
I suffered a severe spinal injury while working as a farm mechanic in the Salinas Valley. The attorneys -Tim McMahon and Mark Sigala were fantastic from the beginning. They fought for me over 3 long years and in the end, we won a difficult liability case against the farm company who was using dangerous equipment. The defendants in the case tried everything to put the blame on me and even claimed I was their employee in order to avoid civil responsibility. Tim and Mark never gave up on me and my case. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are fighters. Adrian A.
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