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Roof Collapse Accidents Caused by Heavy Snow

Many property owners and homeowners in Massachusetts are unaware of the dangerous and hazardous conditions that can occur on the rooftops after a snowfall is followed by heavy rains. In many incidences, roofs collapse during the harshest winter months after storms drop significant amounts of snowfall. This is because most roofs are not designed to handle excessive amounts of weight by accumulating snow and ice. In many situations, the collapse of the roof in MA was the result of the snowfall generating a weight load far beyond the capacity of the building to hold.

Roofing systems collapse

Often times, roofing systems collapse unexpectedly and without warning, which can instantly place every occupant in serious danger. While flat roof systems are especially vulnerable to collapsing from accumulated ice and snow, nearly any type of rooftop structure can collapse under heavy weight loads. However, there are preventative measures that business owners, homeowners and others in Mass. and Rhode Island in charge of their premises can take to avoid the collapse of the roof system. Some of these include:

• Look for any large accumulation of snow build up or snowdrifts on the top of the roof, especially on slightly pitched or flat roofs, porches, garages or carports.
• Safely remove accumulated snow build up and hardened icicles on the rooftop while standing safely on the ground.
• Never use metal tools to remove accumulated snow because the highly conductive tool could come in direct contact with live wires and electrical lines.
• Do not use a ladder to remove the snow from the rooftop because it can easily become icy during the process.
• Clear away the flat roof’s drainage system to ensure that all melting snow and accumulating heavy rainwater can quickly exit the rooftop.
• Ensure that all storm drains heading out to the street have been cleared away at curbside to minimize the possibility of water and debris draining into the structures basement.

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Collapsing Roofs Cause Serious Injuries in MA and RI

The weight of accumulating ice and snow can cause significant injuries if the roof collapses while occupants are inside. Often times, victims suffer catastrophic life altering injuries. Many of these collapses occur at shopping malls, supermarkets, office complexes and restaurants. Victims can suffer a variety of injuries that include:

• Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
• Brain hemorrhages
• Fractures
• Spinal cord injuries
• Fractured vertebrae
• Broken bones in the face and nose
• Facial lacerations
• Skull fractures
• Traumatic brain injuries that result in partial or complete blindness
• Disfigurement
• Broken hands and arms

Premises Liability Claim for Compensation in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

State laws govern civil procedures and rules for any victim that has suffered injuries or death caused by a roof collapse at a private residence or in a commercial establishment. Under the law, property owners, business tenants and homeowners have a legal responsibility to act reasonably to ensure the safety of every occupant and visitor. If the victim of a roof collapse  can prove that negligence of others allowed excessive snow and ice to accumulate on the roof, and the roof collapsed as a result, all parties at fault can be held legally liable to pay for the victim’s damages, injuries and losses. However, these types of cases are extremely complex and difficult to litigate. Because of that, it is advisable to seek compensation through the skilled expertise of a MS personal injury litigator or a Rhode island premises liability attorney who handles premises liability cases.

“In order to best answer the title question of how much is too much, a number of factors must be considered: the weight of the snow; the strength of the roof’s trusses and rafters; the slope of the roof; structures on the roof, such as HVAC systems; outside conditions; sun angle and exposure, etc. In addition, certain types of roofs, especially those with dormers, are particularly prone to ice dams which can do great harm, acting to tear away gutters and shingles and causing interior leaks.”  Washington post

Hiring a Massachusetts personal injury Attorney for a roof collapse accident

A premises liability injury case attorney working on behalf of the victim can file a lawsuit or claim for compensation to ensure they recover medical expenses, time away from work, disability, mental anguish, pain and suffering. These types of cases are accepted through a contingency fee agreement to avoid any payment for legal services through an upfront fee.

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