Bridge Collapse Causes
There are many factors that lead to bridge failures, such as:
- Design Defects
- Incorrect construction materials
- Improper maintenance or repairs
- Lack of effective inspections
- And many others…
Bridges are impressive feats of modern engineering, seemingly so solid and strong that we often think of them as being permanent and impervious to time, wear, and the elements. Every time a bridge collapse occurs, we are reawakened to the fact that our nation’s most iconic structures need constant vigilance in the form of maintenance and attention. Bridge failures, although they happen in a moment, are rarely an instantaneous event. The sequence of events that sometimes lead to a bridge collapse often begins with improper design and construction.
Maybe the engineer made a slight miscalculation regarding the proper mixture of cement or cable size. Maybe those responsible for building the bridge used inferior materials in order to save money on costs. Or maybe the bridge, originally designed to carry a small number of cars per day, is now required to carry many times that number without any reinforcement or reengineering. A small mistake during design, a material change during construction, or overuse over time might not cause a bridge collapse right away; however, such negligence inevitably leaves the bridge vulnerable to a failure at a sudden and seemingly random moment in time.
Because the failure of these structures can be initiated by the smallest of issues, the problem can be very hard to detect, so there are safeguards put in place to keep bridge failures from happening. For example, inspections by government officials must be carried out frequently to ascertain whether or not the bridge is stable, secure, and not in any imminent danger from such insidious problems. And yet, even with federal regulations and inspections in place, many of our nation’s bridges are left with vulnerable weaknesses year after year, until a high-profile bridge collapse throws a spotlight on a persistent issue.
Who is at Fault for Bridge Failures?
While the negligent party may vary greatly from case to case, the people injured during a bridge collapse are almost never at fault. For example, when a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, causes a bridge to fail, it is sometimes the case that safety codes created specifically to keep these structures standing have been violated. Therefore, in many cases, when a bridge fails, someone may have neglected to do his or her job.
Seeking Legal Help after a Bridge Collapse
When you are able, you should seek the help of a qualified legal professional. Our team of lawyers has the knowledge and experience to handle the complex technical aspects that lead to a bridge collapse.