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Property owner may face questions about hazardous conditions

Hazardous conditions in any building can lead to serious injuries and even death. These risks are multiplied when the building is a public place like a retail or grocery store. Slip and fall accidents and injuries from dangerous objects are not uncommon in and around buildings in Charleston or any other city. It is uncommon, however, for an entire building to collapse.

This was the case for a building that housed a Salvation Army retail store in Philadelphia. The building collapse, which occurred in June of this year, claimed the lives of six people and injured many others. Now, government authorities and private attorneys are trying to get to the bottom of who may have been responsible for the devastating accident.

Various different groups have subpoenaed records from an architect who was involved in the building. The U.S. Department of Labor requested those records, but a federal court recently postponed a hearing on that matter.

Similarly, an attorney representing some of the victims and their families has requested records from the same architect. In addition, that attorney explained that he expects to find a communications trail proving that the property owner knew about the dangerous conditions that led to the building's collapse.

Like the laws in other states, West Virginia law requires a building owner to keep the property free of unnecessarily dangerous conditions. When someone is injured on the property because of the owner's failure to maintain it, the victim may be entitled to compensation.

The parties are still investigating whether the owner of the collapsed building in Philadelphia is responsible for the tragedy. Regardless of the outcome, it is a reminder of how dangerous dilapidated building conditions or construction defects can become. Anyone who has suffered an injury due to dangerous building conditions should be aware of their options for filing a premises liability lawsuit or pursuing other legal action.

Source: CBS Philly, "Philadelphia Architect Faces Federal Court Hearing Related To Deadly Building Collapse," Steve Tawa, Oct. 17, 2013

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