The collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Florida was a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided. We now know that the condominium association had received an assessment in 2020 indicating serious structural damage and that the association was planning to make much-needed improvements. Sadly, time ran out. Recently, a Miami-Dade judge approved the sale of the property in order to provide sufficient funds to pay for the many lawsuits and insurance claims from the survivors and the families of those who were not so lucky.
The condominium association is responsible for overseeing the management of the building, collecting fees and managing expenses, ensuring sufficient insurance coverage, and making repairs to common elements. Condo owners are responsible for ensuring and maintaining their own units, as is any homeowner.
Negligence to the degree that caused the tragic collapse of Champlain Towers South is very rare, but injuries caused by negligence in condominiums are common. If you have been injured in a condominium, you have the right to receive compensation.
Florida law requires that the plaintiff in a personal injury case prove:
- The person or business who caused your injury owed you a duty of care
- The person or business was negligent in that duty
- You suffered injury or damage that was caused by the breach of duty
- The injury or damage can be demonstrated legally
Duty of care
It is the responsibility of the condo association and/or property manager to maintain all common elements and structures to ensure a safe living environment. This includes the obvious, such as structurally sound walls, floors, roofs, and balconies; recreation areas, such as the pool; utilities, including plumbing, lighting, heating, and sprinkler systems; and exterior elements, such as landscaping, walkways, and handrails. The association and/or property manager are also responsible for safety and security, including sufficient lighting, surveillance systems, security personnel, and alarm systems.
Negligence in that duty
Often, tenants will inform the condo association of unsafe conditions, for instance, a crumbling sidewalk. If steps are not taken quickly to rectify the situation and someone trips and falls and is seriously injured on that sidewalk, negligence is clear. But even if the association was not informed, they have a duty to constantly survey their property to ensure that all is in good condition and safe.
Injury is caused and can be demonstrated
If a person trips and falls on a crumbling sidewalk and breaks a hip, leading to surgery and rehab, this can be legally demonstrated. There may be injuries that the person reports that are more difficult to demonstrate legally, but as an experienced personal injury lawyer with a proven track record of earning significant awards for my clients, I know how to demonstrate injury in most situations. It is very important to maintain honesty and integrity in a lawsuit, in order to build a very powerful case, because defense lawyers are trained to look for holes in a plaintiff’s arguments. Therefore, I carefully construct cases on strong evidence to support my clients’ claims.
Whether you are a visitor or a tenant, if you have been injured due to negligence on the part of a condominium association or property management team, you have the right to sue for damages. Those damages can include medical and out-of-pocket expenses, lost income, pain, suffering, loss of companionship, and more.
Contact me from anywhere in Florida to discuss your case. I leave no stone unturned to help my clients receive the compensation they deserve.