This is obviously a very tragic accident, but there is very little information about how the accident happened. Notwithstanding that, there are potential theories of liability and defenses that may arise if a civil wrongful death claim is filed. There is a belief that the woman fell from the roof of the condominium building. If she was not a condominium owner or guest, then she may be considered a trespasser, which will create a higher burden for her re presentatives to meet in order to prove the condominium or the construction company did something wrong. Assuming she was a resident or guest, the question is whether she was allowed to be on the roof. If not, she might be considered a trespasser for being in an area where owners and guests are not supposed to be. Again, this will make her case more difficult to win.
But let’s consider that she was allowed to be on the roof. The next question will be what caused her to fall from the building. She either intentionally jumped or accidentally fell. There did not appear to be any witnesses and no suicide note was referenced in the article so it appears that she accidentally fell. Whether the condominium association and building owner had proper railings and wall heights on the roof will be important in establishing in order to determine whether the association/building owner is liable. The construction company may be liable if they had equipment on the roof that was not safely installed or managed. Whether the construction company had knowledge that owners/guests would use the roof would also be important to know in establishing the construction company’s responsibility for the accident.
I find it interesting that the article indicates that she fell from the roof. The obvious lawsuit is if she did not fall from the roof but fell from her balcony because the construction company left midway through their work on her balcony and did not advise her that the railing or wall was no longer structural sound, causing her to lean against them and fall to her death. The fact that the construction company left mid-work day because of rain suggests that maybe they left in haste and failed to properly secure the premises or warn residents. If this is the case, then the condominium association could also be responsible for failing to warn. Keep watching this case because there is more to learn in determining who is responsible for this wrongful death.
William T. Abel, Esq.,