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Helping Tampa area accident victims

Defects in the design or manufacture of consumer goods or products, like cars, trucks or airplanes, can have disastrous consequences. From a legal perspective, such defects are usually examined in terms of strict or products liability standpoint. However, as Florida residents were once gain reminded, when such defects exist in the infrastructure that people rely on in their day-to-day lives, the results can be fatal.

Commuters and construction workers in suburban Miami discovered this under incredibly tragic circumstances. A pedestrian bridge that was being built to connect the campus of Florida International University to the small, nearby suburb of Sweetwater gave way and fell onto cars and people who were beneath it at the time. The 950-ton span killed and injured several people, crushing cars beyond recognition.

The investigation into the accident is still pending, and it may be quite some time before the cause of the collapse is known. The bridge was designed to be built and moved into place quickly using a technique that allowed the span to be placed on its piers in a matter of hours. Whether the defect that caused the tragedy was a fault with the bridge’s design or some failure in its construction or placement has yet to be determined.

The Miami tragedy resonates in the Tampa Bay region, as well. The same company that designed the collapsed pedestrian bridge also designed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the elevated express lanes of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. During construction of the latter, the collapse of a concrete pier brought construction to a halt and added another $120 million to the cost of the project. When engineers or construction firms fail to protect the public, unfortunately, the only recourse victims have can be found in the law.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Company that designed failed the FIU bridge also designed Skyway, part of Selmon,” Dan Sullivan, March 15, 2018