Sometimes it seems like a comedy of errors. Construction projects reveal error after error, each issue posing a major safety threat and each repair carrying an even heftier price tag than the one before. Reports of roadway defects are particularly frightening when they involve bridges since even a small miscalculation can lead to a tragic bridge collapse. Given the potentially devastating toll of such events, our San Francisco bridge collapse law firm feels relief when an error is spotted upfront, but we are also left pondering how these errors can occur in the first place. Should a bridge collapse strike the Northern California region, we are prepared to fight for the victims and to help them win money damages from any and all parties responsible for the tragedy.
Caltrans Reports Finding Leaky Shocks on Bay Bridge’s Western Span
In April, we reported on defective rods that shattered as crews building the Bay Bridge’s new eastern span (see report in the San Francisco Chronicle). Late last week, the San Francisco Chronicle carried another frightening report as Caltrans discovered that some of the 96 seismic shock absorbers used in the bridge’s western span are leaking lubricant. The problem arose a mere three years after the shocks were installed and carries a $13 million repair price tag.
At this time, it is not clear whether Caltrans ordered the right shocks (or, more specifically, “dampers”) prior to installing them in 2004 while performing a $670 million seismic upgrade. Caltrans officials report that by 2007 a dozen of the dampers, which were expected to last 20 years, were leaking. There are now 37 leaky shocks. With the help of experts at UC San Diego, Caltrans developed a quick fix, but it is not a long-term solution and the agency plans to begin replacing the shocks in 2015. It seems unlikely for Caltrans to be able to pass the bill on to the original manufacturer and the bill will probably fall on toll payers. Other spans may also need replacement shocks, including at least one non-toll bridge.
Taken together with the brittle rods issue on the eastern span, the Bay Bridge project is facing significant delays and unexpected costs. Still, the importance of bridge safety cannot be understated. A bridge collapse can lead to catastrophic injuries and loss of life, not to mention the costs associated with the damage, the repair bill, and the need for a temporary traffic solution.
Advocating for Northern Californians in Bridge Collapse Cases
Our San Francisco defective roads lawyer is prepared to advocate for injured victims and grieving families in the event of a bridge collapse in San Francisco or elsewhere in Northern California. Such a tragedy may involve a range of legal issues including premises liability, product liability, and dangerous condition of public property claims. Bridge defect cases also require an attorney who understands the complexity of filing suit against a municipality or other government entity, an issue we’ve talked about on this blog on multiple occasions.
Bridge defect cases also demand an attorney who knows how to locate and work with top-of-the-line subject matter experts. In many of our firm’s cases, Attorney Brod works closely with experts to determine who is at fault and what legal claims are appropriate. Expert testimony, which is itself governed by a detailed set of procedural rules, can also be critical to helping a jury understand complex issues. An expert can make or break a case. Attorney Brod understands the law governing expert testimony and knows how to work with experts to help personal injury and wrongful death clients recover the money damages they need and deserve.
If a bridge collapse or other structural issue on Northern California’s roads has caused you injury or claimed the life of a loved one, we can help. Call today to arrange a free consultation with our California road defect lawyer and begin the process of recovering monetary compensation for your injury and/or your loss.
See Related Blog Posts:
Brittle Rods Break During Construction of Bay Bridge Eastern Span