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Partial settlement reached in balcony collapse lawsuits

Some Georgia residents may have read about a balcony collapse in California in June 2015 that resulted in the deaths of six students and injured seven others The injured students and the families of those who were killed reached a settlement with seven of the companies sued in connection with the collapse.

The lawsuits, which were filed in Alameda County Superior Court, reported that previous tenants had seen mushrooms growing on the balcony. Although this indicated a problem with moisture entering the structure, the manager of the building did not take any steps to secure the balcony. According to the lawsuits, the balcony was more vulnerable to water damage because of the cheaper materials used by Segue Construction, one of the companies that agreed to the settlement. However, the family members of one of of the students who was killed say they will continue pressing for stronger building codes. The two companies that manage and own the building did not agree to the settlement, so those lawsuits will go forward.

The students were attending a birthday party at the apartment when the accident occurred. They fell 50 feet onto the street.

While in some cases property owners may have insurance to protect them against people being injured in preventable accidents on their property, in other cases multiple parties might be liable. In this case, for example, both the poor construction practices of the construction company and the lack of action from management all contributed to the accident and may have constituted negligence. Furthermore, people who are injured or the families of people killed in such accidents may want to file a lawsuit to draw attention to issues that need changing such as building codes.

Source: US News, "Victims of California Balcony Fall Win Partial Settlement", Janie Har, May 5, 2017

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