Friday 18 August 2017

Law firms begin considering compensation - previous victims of collapse awarded $12m

A worker measures near the remaining wood from the apartment building balcony that collapsed in Berkeley
A worker measures near the remaining wood from the apartment building balcony that collapsed in Berkeley
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

As grieving families and the injured struggle in the aftermath of the Berkeley balcony collapse, a number of American law firms have already begun considering possible compensation claims down the line.

While for most the focus remains intently on the survivors and bringing the victims home for burial, some American legal firms have flagged the incident on their websites.

One such firm, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP, claims on its website that it is investigating the balcony collapse.

The firm, which is based on the San Francisco Peninsula, states that it engages "exclusively in litigation and trials".

Read more: Picture shows remaining wooden 'stumps' of balcony following Berkeley tragedy

The firm also lists a number of other balcony collapse cases that it has handled, pointing to a number of similar incidents in the San Francisco area.

Berkeley Tragedy Victims' Fund

The Irish Immigration Pastoral Centre in San Francisco has set up an online account to raise funds for the students affected by this tragedy and to assist the immediate needs of their families.

Click here to make a donation to the fund

In one such case, the firm represented 13 individuals in connection with a balcony collapse in 1998.

The victims were at a party in a San Francisco building when the incident occurred.

The jury awarded over $12.3m to the victims, finding against the property manager and landlord.

Read more: Friends and family united in grief at special mass for Berkeley victims in St Mary's College

CPM states that the case and $12m verdict "brought attention to the high rate of balcony collapses in the Bay Area".

The law firm went on to give details of three other cases where it claimed "significant damages" for victims of balcony collapses.

The building where this week's accident occurred, Library Gardens Apartments, is owned an investment fund and managed by the Houston-based Greystar.

Greystar manages more than 400,000 apartments around the country, including some in Berkeley.

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