Theatre Collapses Injures Dozens, Investigator Say No Criminal Liability

Part of the domed ceiling at the historic Apollo Theater in Central London crashed down onto onlookers during a packed performance. The collapse occurred during an evening performance of the hugely popular play called, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. In the middle of the performance debris from the century old building showered the 700 theatergoers. “We heard a creak, somebody screamed, somebody from over there said, ‘Look out!’ and then the ceiling kind of creased in the middle and then just collapsed,” a witness reports. A 10-meter-by-10-meter square section of the ceiling fell, and a portion of the balcony was taken out by the force of the square. Onlookers initially thought the dramatics were a part of the play, or even sound effects. A cloud of thick dust came down making it hard to see. And, the reality of the situation immediately set in on the theatergoers.

Firefighters and rescue personnel were able to remove all 720 people from inside the West End of the theater. Approximately 80 people were injured with head trauma, broken bones, cuts and contusions. Many of the injured were able to be treated at the scene, while dozens were taken to nearby hospitals. Nine people were seriously hurt in the collapse, and three injured people had to be rescued by firefighters because they were trapped under debris. Fortunately none of the injuries were life-threatening.

No Criminal Liability
Authorities examined the premises to determine the cause of the collapse. Investigators combed through the wreckage, and examined the roof and the stage. CNN reports that a preliminary police investigation found that no criminal act was involved. The investigation will be continued by the Westminister City Council throughout the coming weeks.

Civil Liability
Building collapses are extremely unfortunate events, sometimes resulting in very serious injuries. Building collapses are preventable through the exercise of proper construction, design, inspections, and maintenance. When a building owner fails to exercise due care and maintain safe premises, the building owner can be held liable for injuries that occurred while on the premises. In the case of the London Theatre collapse, theatergoers may be entitled to compensation under the theory of premise liability. (Of course, under the London laws.) As a notion of public policy, people have a reasonable expectation of safety when entering upon the property of another. Generally premise liability, holds the owner responsible for maintaining a safe environment. Particularly with building collapses, premise liability obligates the building owners, or even the architect or engineer, to provide a safe structure. Premise liability applies to any structure, including bridges and parking garages.

The complexities of building collapse liability cases correspond to the large number of potential causes to the collapse. There are multiple individuals who play a role in the design, construction and maintenance of a building, and determining who is at fault can be difficult. It is best to seek the assistance of a trained legal counselor who will comb through the facts of the case to best represent the injured party.

Building collapses are very catastrophic events that can result in serious injuries, and even death. If you or a loved one has been injured in a building collapse, our experienced California personal injury attorneys at Brod Law Firm can help you recover. Contact our office today for a confidential consultation.