Skip to Content
No Fees Unless We Win 855-948-5098
Top
truck crashes in san francisco Client Focused. Trial Ready. Billions Won.

Bridge Collapse LAWYERs

At Wisner Baum, our attorneys have years of experience handling injury and death cases stemming from a wide variety of negligence-induced accidents, including bridge collapses. If you or a member of your family sustained injuries in a bridge collapse accident, our attorneys have the resources and track record to obtain justice on your behalf and hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence. 

As the victim of a bridge collapse, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and other damages. 

Contact the bridge collapse lawyers at Wisner Baum today for a free case evaluation. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay if we win your case. Call 855-948-5098 today to speak with an attorney.

WHAT CAUSES A BRIDGE TO COLLAPSE?

There are many factors that lead to bridge failures, such as:

  • Design defects
  • Incorrect construction materials
  • Improper maintenance or repairs
  • Lack of effective inspections
  • Crash involving a large sea vessel
  • And many others…

The sequence of events that can lead to a bridge collapse often begins with improper design and construction. Some examples:

  • An engineer made a slight miscalculation regarding the proper mixture of cement or cable size. 
  • Use of inferior materials to save money on costs. 
  • A state’s transportation department fails to make needed repairs. 

A small mistake during design, a material change during construction, overuse over time, or maintenance failure may not cause a bridge collapse right away. But negligence can also leave a bridge vulnerable to failure at a sudden and seemingly random moment in time. 

For example, if a commercial truck takes a route that puts the vehicle on a collision course with a bridge, the trucking company may be held liable for negligence in causing the bridge collapse. Container ships and barges have also been known to collide with bridges, triggering collapses. According to data from the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, between 1960 to 2015, there were 35 major bridge collapses throughout the world due to ship or barge collisions. These collapses led to over 340 deaths. Of the 35 incidents, 18 occurred in the U.S.

 

WHO IS LIABLE FOR A BRIDGE COLLAPSE?

While bridge collapse accidents are rare, when they happen, the consequences can be devastating. Bridges require meticulous construction, maintenance, and regular inspections to ensure their safety. If any negligence occurs during construction or maintenance and the bridge fails, it could cause catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. 

But who exactly is liable when a bridge collapses? The answer varies depending on the circumstances, but generally speaking, the following entities may be held liable: 

  • Bridge designers
  • Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Construction companies 
  • Government agencies
  • Maintenance companies 
  • Inspection companies

Holding the responsible parties accountable is crucial to seeking justice for the victims. However, this can be a complex process, as it requires establishing whether the bridge was initially designed and constructed properly, among other issues. 

The statute of limitations may protect bridge designers and builders if a bridge collapses many years after construction. However, in cases like the Florida International University (FIU) bridge collapse in Miami, where the collapse occurred while under construction, multiple parties may be held liable. 

HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?

The compensation available to victims of a bridge collapse depends on a variety of factors. For example, an injured construction worker has the option to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. This claim can provide them with financial support to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. 

If a bridge collapse lawyer determines that a third party other than the employer contributed to the accident, the construction worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. The amount of compensation available in an injury lawsuit depends on the plaintiff’s claims for damages, which we discuss below.

Compensatory Damages

  • Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the injured person for the harm suffered as a result of the bridge collapse caused by negligence.
  • These damages are awarded to both compensate for actual losses incurred and to restore the injured person to their pre-accident condition as much as possible.

Compensatory damages can be further categorized into two types:

Economic Damages

  • Special damages, also known as economic damages, are awarded to compensate the injured person for actual monetary losses resulting from the bridge collapse.
  • These damages may include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages or income, property damage, and other quantifiable financial losses directly related to the incident.

Non-Economic Damages

  • General damages, also known as non-economic damages, are awarded to compensate the injured person for non-monetary losses that are often more subjective or difficult to quantify.
  • These damages may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible losses resulting from the injuries sustained in the bridge collapse.

Punitive Damages

  • Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are not meant to compensate the injured person but rather to punish the negligent party for their misconduct and deter others from engaging in similar negligent behavior.
  • Punitive damages are often only awarded in cases where the negligence is considered willful, wanton, or extremely reckless.
  • The availability and limits of punitive damages vary by jurisdiction, and not all personal injury cases merit the awarding of punitive damages.

Wrongful Death Damages

  • In cases where the bridge collapse caused by negligence results in the death of an individual, wrongful death damages may be awarded.
  • Wrongful death damages compensate the surviving family members or beneficiaries for the losses they have suffered as a result of their loved one's death.
  • These damages may include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and other related losses.
  • It is important to note that the availability and calculation of damages can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of each case. Legal advice specific to the situation is recommended to fully understand the types and potential amounts of damages available in a personal injury lawsuit.

EXAMPLES OF BRIDGE COLLAPSE LAWSUITS

On March 26, 2024, a large cargo ship ‘Dali’ issued a mayday call before colliding with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. At least six people were missing in the immediate aftermath of the collision, which caused the Baltimore bridge to collapse. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the cause of the Baltimore bridge collapse. The attorneys at Wisner Baum anticipate lawsuits in the wake of the incident. 

The most significant bridge collapse litigation to recently resolve stemmed from the FIU collapse in 2018, which killed a construction worker and five people sitting in their cars. The collapse, which triggered litigation that lasted over three years, culminated in settlements worth approximately $103 million.

Another major case followed the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge Collapse in Minnesota. In 2007, the collapse of this major interstate bridge led to 13 deaths and caused more than 100 serious injuries.  

Lawsuits were filed against the state, a construction company, and an engineering firm responsible for the bridge's design and maintenance. The litigation culminated in a settlement worth over $95 million. URS Corp., the engineering firm, paid over $50 million of the settlement.  

ATTORNEYS WITH EXPERIENCE REPRESENTING VICTIMS OF BRIDGE COLLAPSE ACCIDENTS

At Wisner Baum, our compassionate lawyers understand the emotional and financial strain caused by bridge collapse accidents. We have been litigating these cases for decades, as our track record shows. 

​Our first bridge collapse case came in the wake of the Hatchie River incident in 1989. Considered one of the worst bridge collapses in U.S. history, the Hatchie River bridge failure happened when an 85-foot section of the bridge fell into the river after rushing water weakened supports. Eight people died in the incident. 

A federal investigation found that the river channel had moved 83 feet since the bridge was built in 1936, and that the bridge collapse likely happened as a result of the deterioration of timber piles that were originally buried and not designed to be in water.

Wisner Baum handled another bridge collapse that occurred just days later, on April 15, 1989, in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. A wooden bridge spanning the Southern Railway collapsed as a truck attempted to cross, leaving one man dead and two men injured. 

Our firm is committed to helping you navigate the legal process and will fight relentlessly to secure the justice and compensation you deserve. If you or your family have been affected by a bridge collapse accident, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free case evaluation. Together, we can seek justice and hold those responsible accountable for their negligence.

If you or someone you know has been harmed because of a bridge collapse, contact the experienced attorneys at Wisner Baum for a free consultation.

Client-Focused Representation

REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS

We believe our track record speaks for itself. But you don’t have to take our word for it. See what our clients have to say about working with us.

    "I Can’t Imagine a Better Law Firm"

    Multiple lawyers recommended Wisner Baum to me and I have been consistently impressed with the quality of their work.

    - Best Law Firms Survey
    "They Are About Changing the Systems..."

    Wisner Baum are not only amazing attorneys but more importantly, they are activists. They are about changing the systems which got us into trouble in the first place. They understand their role in the process of making change.

    - Kim Witczak
    "Top Legal Minds in the Country"

    The Wisner Baum firm has some of the top legal minds in the country; they are driven, determined, trustworthy, ethical and passionate.

    - From Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms
Nationwide Legal Advocacy Call (855) 948-5098 to Learn About Your Legal Options Free & Confidential Consultation