Injuries Resulting from Building or City Safety Code Violations
In 2014, the state of Mississippi enacted its first statewide building code designed to set construction guidelines which would strengthen homes and public buildings from weather-related damage. Advocates have been calling for this type of legislation since 2005, after Mississippi residents were hit by major hurricanes such as Rita, Dennis, and Katrina. Local governments would be mandated to adopt and enforce Mississippi Building Code Council Requirements. The codes excluded farms, fishing camps, gas and oil plants, pipelines, utility stations and factories.
A study done in August 2011 found that among the states found along the country’s eastern coastline, Mississippi rated the lowest in terms of having comprehensive building guidelines in place. Although it took some time to put these more stringent building codes in place, Mississippi residents are now better protected, not only in the event of a natural disaster, but also when they are injured in a public building due to violations of even the most basic safety codes.
Literally thousands of people are injured every year in public property accidents. In a significant number of these injuries, the design, construction or compliance with building codes may be a factor, whether those codes are national, state or local. In order to ensure public buildings are safe for visitors and occupants, it is essential that minimum building standards be carefully followed. Virtually every aspect of construction is governed by building codes which regulate:
- Materials used to construct the building;
- The design of the building;
- The building process;
- Emergency escapes;
- Compliance with ADA;
- Deck railing widths;
- Mechanical systems;
- Unsafe decks;
- Energy efficiency;
- Elevator safety;
- Stair and railing safety requirements;
- Fire systems required such as sprinklers and smoke detectors;
- Electrical systems, and
- Plumbing systems.
Some of the most common violations in public buildings involve faulty electrical wiring, fire sprinkler systems which malfunction, lack of emergency lighting, poorly lit staircases, improper rise and run on stairs and dangerous gas fittings. When an owner, or other person in charge of a specific property violates a building code, negligence may be established. If an individual is harmed as a result of a building code violation, they have the right to file a claim to recover compensation for those at fault. The victim of injuries caused as a result of building code violations and negligence must prove the following four specific elements:
- First, the victim of injury caused by a building code violation must show that the individuals at fault were required to provide a duty of care. This is a responsibility or legal obligation to the public which requires those who own or built a public building to adhere to a standard of reasonable care while performing acts which could, in the future, harm others.
- If a duty of care can be established, then it must be shown that the defendant in the case breached that duty of care.
- Proof of the breach of duty must exist, and the plaintiff must be able to detail how the defendant(s) either violated a building code which caused his or her injuries or failed to take a specific action which caused the injuries.
- Finally, the plaintiff must show a connection between the injuries they sustained and the negligence in the form of building code violations.
If you have been injured as a result of a building or city safety code violation, and you believe your injury was a direct result of such a violation, you must first contact the local code enforcement department and speak to an inspector. If you are physically able, collect evidence at the scene of your accident in the form of photographs and notes. If there were witnesses to your injury, get names and addresses. Contact an experienced Mississippi attorney who can help you file your lawsuit and will ensure your rights are being protected throughout the process.
Legal Help for Your Injuries
If you have suffered injury as a result of a building code violation or a city safety code violation, speaking to a knowledgeable attorney from The Stroud Law Firm could make all the difference in the outcome of your injury. It is particularly important during the crucial days following your accident, that you have someone in your corner who will be looking out for your interests and your rights at every turn. We understand what you are going through and believe you deserve an experienced legal advocate by your side who will ensure your rights and your future are properly protected. We can answer any questions you may have, and be the resource that can truly make the difference in your case. Call The Stroud Law Firm at (662) 536-5656. Our attorneys will treat you with respect and compassion and will work hard on your behalf to get you the best result possible.