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When you see a building collapse on the news, you probably think of it as a horrible tragedy that will never impact you or a loved one. After all, they are relatively rare. Unfortunately, the problems that lead to notable building collapses exist in construction projects all over Florida. While they will not all collapse, the reality is that many of these buildings are at risk.

When you or a loved one are injured in a building collapse, the odds are high that the injuries will be catastrophic. Building collapses typically lead to severe injuries, death, and trauma. Even when rescue workers manage to save people, the emotional and physical aftermath can be devastating. It is also expensive. A Pensacola building collapse lawyer could review the facts of your case and explain potential legal remedies. Reach out to Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our seasoned construction injury attorneys.

Why Buildings Collapse

Buildings collapse for two reasons: natural disasters and negligence. Sometimes, one factor is the cause; in other cases, multiple factors combine to lead to the collapse.

Natural Causes

For example, in Pensacola, construction should be hurricane-safe and able to withstand sustained high-speed winds without losing structural integrity. Hurricane-resistant buildings should be moisture-resistant, impact-resistant, and wind-resistant. Those features should prevent the building from sustaining severe damage or collapsing in a hurricane. However, since there is no upper limit to wind speed in a Category 5 hurricane, even hurricane-resistant buildings may collapse in a sufficiently devastating storm.

Sinkholes are another potential cause of building collapse in Florida. Most of Florida is on a bed of predominantly limestone, which dissolves in water. As the stone dissolves, sinkholes can form. This differs from manmade sinkholes that may be caused by fracking or by pumping water out of reservoirs. If a sinkhole contributed to a building collapse, natural disasters will partially be responsible for the event. A diligent building collapse lawyer in Pensacola could then investigate whether the builder took appropriate steps to survey the land to determine the likelihood of a sinkhole developing.


While hurricanes, sinkholes, and other natural disasters can contribute to building collapse, two types of negligence are responsible for most of these catastrophes: negligence in constructing the building or negligence in maintaining the building. Determining whether the issue was one of construction or maintenance is imperative because it determines who is at fault for the collapse.

Federal, state, and local building codes provide the rules that builders must follow. Some of them are laws; others are industry standards. Together, they establish the standard a reasonable builder should follow when constructing a building. A builder who skips steps, uses inferior materials, and takes shortcuts may be negligent.

Buildings also need regular inspections and appropriate maintenance. Determining what maintenance is appropriate is done on a case-by-case basis. For example, some buildings will display no issues, meaning they do not have any maintenance needs. Others may have clogged gutters, rotting roofs, signs of bugs, or evidence of a shifting foundation. Each problem will have a remedy or set of remedies. Failing to enact those remedies can be negligence.

One of the issues that victims may encounter is not knowing what caused the building collapse. It can take months—or even years—of investigations to determine why a building fell. A proactive Pensacola building collapse attorney could coordinate with investigators to learn who is responsible, preserving claims against the wrongdoers.

Consult a Pensacola Building Collapse Attorney at Our Firm

A building collapse often leads to a vast range of injury types. Some people will escape without any physical damage, while others are likely to suffer serious injuries or death. Broken bones, crush injuries, spinal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries are all possible. People may be trapped, leading to an excruciating waiting period as they await rescue.

While not every person will suffer the same physical injuries, almost everyone will lose their material possessions. They will also suffer emotional trauma, which may outlast anyone’s physical injuries. People need to get the physical—and mental—healthcare they deserve after a building collapse.

Schedule a meeting with a Pensacola building collapse lawyer at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon to protect your legal rights and seek the justice you deserve following this type of catastrophic incident.