Who Is Liable in a Building Strike Crash?

Building Strike CrashBuilding strike crashes, although relatively rare, can have severe consequences for both Nashville property owners and individuals involved. Typically, a building strike crash occurs when a driver unintentionally slams their vehicle into a building. It’s important to note that liability for these types of accidents are not always placed on the driver. In certain cases, property owners may be held responsible as well. Let’s take a closer look at what a building strike crash is and the legal implications associated with these incidents.

Before looking at the complexities of liability, let’s craft a definition for these types of accidents. A building strike crash occurs when a car or truck crashes into a building, resulting in extensive damage. These types of accidents can result in injuries to pedestrians and/or passengers of the crashed car, leading to bodily harm or even death.

Who is liable in a building strike crash?

Driver liability: In most building strike crashes, the primary party held accountable is the driver of the vehicle that struck the building. The driver’s actions, such as negligence, recklessness, or impairment, can significantly contribute to the occurrence of such accidents. If the driver was distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or violating any other traffic laws, they can be held liable for the damages caused. Victims injured in these incidents have the right to pursue legal action against the driver to seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage and other related losses, as well.

Property owner liability: There are also circumstances where the property owner may share responsibility for a building strike crash. Property owners have a legal duty to ensure the safety of their premises, including implementing adequate safety measures to protect pedestrians and the building itself. Failure to fulfill this duty can lead to the property owner being held accountable for premises liability.

An important and sometimes confounding factor in determining property owner liability is the concept of “foreseeability.” This is the idea that a property owner should have reasonably anticipated a potential building strike in a certain place, thus they should have safety measures in place. These precautions may include installing bollards (or safety posts), safety barriers, or other physical safeguards to minimize the potential vehicles to jump the curb and reach pedestrian walkways or the building itself.

With that, property owners have a responsibility to the pedestrians on their property. They must maintain clear walkways that are free from obstacles and hazards. Inadequate lighting, poorly marked walkways, or other hazards that contribute to an accident can render the property owner partially liable for the resulting damages. All in all a property owner has a lot of responsibilities to be mindful of throughout their property.

Shared liability and comparative negligence: In some cases, liability for a building strike crash may be shared between the driver and the property owner. This concept is known as “shared liability” or “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence considers the degree of fault placed on each party involved in the accident. If it’s determined that the driver and the property owner both contributed to the crash, by some combination of driver negligence and improper safety implementations by the property owner, the liability for the damages may be split accordingly between both parties.

What injuries to passengers or pedestrians can happen in building strike crashes?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): A passenger in a building strike crash may sustain a TBI. The most common form that could be expected in such an instance would result from whiplash, as the head of the passenger flings back and forth, potentially causing damage to the brain and the spine. The force of impact during the collision can cause the head to strike a hard surface, leading to concussions. TBIs can have long-lasting effects on cognitive function, memory, motor skills and overall quality of life.

Orthopedic injuries: The sudden impact suffered by either a passenger or pedestrian can cause fractures, dislocations, sprains, and strains in various parts of the body. These injuries may require extensive medical intervention, including surgeries, and physical therapy and rehabilitation. Symptoms can include prolonged pain, mobility limitations and even permanent disabilities.

Crushing injuries: For a pedestrian, if they are pinned against the side of the building, in a building strike crash the effects can be grave. Organs such as the liver, spleen, lungs, or kidneys can sustain damage from blunt force trauma, resulting in internal bleeding, organ rupture, or other life-threatening conditions.

No matter the injury, even if the victim feels virtually uninjured, they should seek medical care to verify that there are no injuries. Especially with TBI, there is a potential for latent injuries to resurface later on, with serious effects.

If you have suffered an injury in a building strike crash, you should not have to pay for your medical expenses related to this crash. Compensation in building strike crash cases typically covers medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs. The specific amount of compensation awarded depends on various factors, including the extent of injuries, property damage and the impact on the victim’s life.

Victims of building strike crashes in Nashville have the right to pursue legal action against the liable parties to seek compensation for their losses. Consulting with an experienced Nashville personal injury attorney will help you understand the appropriate course of action if you have been injured in a building strike crash.

The trusted attorneys at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm can help gather evidence, assess liability, negotiate with insurance companies and represent your interests in court, if necessary. Do not delay, if you or a loved one has been injured in a building strike crash contact us for your free consultation with any of our Nashville, Hendersonville, Murfreesboro or Clarksville locations.