At Swartz & Swartz P.C., we know that people can get injured or even killed because of poorly maintained or designed buildings, as well as other structures like bridges and parking lots.

If you read our blog often, you’ll have noticed that we are spending some time exploring structural safety and the importance of knowing your rights when it comes to injuries as a result of a structure being badly maintained or built.

In light of the horrific partial condo collapse in Florida, we wanted to do our part to ensure our community has as much information as possible to understand the importance of structural safety and where to go for help. What we haven’t done yet is outline some of the issues you need to watch out for – telltale signs of structural defects that could be dangerous:

  • Rust stains on the edge of your building that originate at random
  • Cracks which appear either on internal or external walls and go up or down the building in a step-like manner
  • Water leaks or concrete cracks/brittleness which cannot be tracked to an exact area above the leak
  • Brick growth/expansion which causes displacement and/or windows and doors to not fit as soundly as before
  • Lintels and arch bars (horizontal structure above doors and windows) show signs of rust and cracking of the brickwork
  • Balconies which are cracking and leaking
  • Large pieces of concrete are falling from the structure

If you are concerned about the safety of the property your are currently living in, or, if you are worried about a structure that you frequently use or visit, the City of Boston has a Problem Property Task Force that keeps track of dangerous properties and takes action to get them fixed.

There are several ways that properties may be brought to the Task Force’s attention. They include:

  • through City departments and agencies
  • through BOS:311 complaints
  • a member of the public calling the Office of Neighborhood Services

According to the City’s website, a property is designated a “problem property” if there have been at least four valid complaint incidents in the past 12 months. It’s worth noting that the process is a little more involved than just recording the four complaints. The Task Force always reviews the exact nature and severity of all the concerns about the property.

After the Task Force gathers all the necessary information and completes its investigation, they make a decision about the property. The task force prepares an official notice for property owners, which is then sent through registered mail to the address of the problem property, including information about the nature of the issues at the property, and a request to contact the Task Force Chair and the local District Police Captain or the Inspection Services Commissioner, to help the property owner address their building’s issues.

According to the City’s website, a property is designated a “problem property,” if there have been at least four valid complaint incidents in the past 12 months.

As we mentioned in our last blog post, if you have been injured as a result of the way a building was built or maintained, you may be able to recover damages under an area of personal injury law premises liability. Let’s take a closer look at this area of law.

In general, property owners (whether they live in the property itself or rent it) have a legal obligation to maintain that property in a reasonably safe manner. If the property owner or occupier of that property (like a renter) invites you over and you are hurt or injured because the property was not reasonably maintained, you (as the injured person) can file a premises liability personal injury claim.

Generally speaking, your claim will assert negligent maintenance or design/build, negligence allegeding that you were “owed a duty of care”, by the manager of the property. You will prevail  if your attorney can prove that the duty of care you were owed by the responsible party was breached in a negligent way, therefore causing you to become injured. These are complicated cases, which is why it is important to retain the best premises liability law firm to represent you.

Swartz & Swartz P.C. has more than four decades of experience representing premises liability victims. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts office at (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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Ms. Daly’s practice includes personal injury, premises liability, products liability and sexual assault. She previously worked for a well-known insurance defense firm and brings a unique perspective to Swartz & Swartz regarding the inner workings of the insurance industry.



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