Large Hole in the roof causing ceiling collapse

Bathroom Ceiling Collapse: What to Do

NTZ Editor

There are several reasons why a bathroom ceiling would collapse — from poor workmanship to incorrect access and use of roof space, building code violations, using inferior or improper building materials, lack of routine maintenance, and failure to repair cracks, water damage, or a water leak. A ceiling collapse can cause severe property damage and injuries to unsuspecting victims.

Potential Injuries from a Ceiling Collapse

Tenants and their children are frequently injured when large (and often wet) chunks of plaster, wooden planks, and ceiling joints fall. These falling objects frequently knock people unconscious.

A collapsed ceiling can also cause severe cuts and bruises to joints, and tendon damage, broken bones and fractures, head and brain injuries, skull fractures, facial lacerations, back injuries, paralysis and nerve damage, permanent disfigurement, and even death. Unusually severe head injuries can necessitate months or years of rehabilitative care and treatment for some victims.

All the mold exposed after a ceiling collapse can exacerbate breathing problems for those with previous lung issues.

What Are Common Signs of a Potential Ceiling Collapse?

There are several signs tenants and homeowners should look out for that indicate an imminent danger of a bathroom ceiling collapse. These include a sagging roof or ceiling; roof leaks; ceiling cracks; interior roof leaks; water sliding down the walls; damaged water fixtures on the ceiling; water spots and water stains; mold, and unusual noises like creaking, cracking, or popping that can be heard inside and outside.

What to Do If You Notice Any of These Signs

If you are in a rental, immediately contact the property owner or landlord to inspect the bathroom ceiling and make the appropriate repairs. Tenants in New York have a legal right to rental property that meets basic structural, health, and safety standards and is in good repair. This means repairing the roof and ceiling and any water damage in the apartment, hiring a mold remediation contractor to dispose ofmoldy porous building materials (drywall, insulation, etc.), repairing the floor from leaks, etc.

If your landlord fails to perform necessary maintenance, such as repairing a leaky roof, you have several important legal rights, including:

  • The right to withhold rent until repairs are made
  • The right to “repair and deduct”—that is, to hire a repair person to fix a serious defect that renders a unit unfit for occupancy and deduct the cost from your rent.

Also, if a known dangerous condition is not corrected and a tenant is injured as a result of it, the property owner/landlord may be held legally and financially liable for the tenant’s injuries and damages.

Be sure to document all communication with the landlord or property owner. Take photos of the damaged ceiling and affected areas and list all damaged property. Take pictures of your injuries. Proving that the landlord had prior notice is why you must notify your landlord or property manager immediately if you notice any ceiling water stains or damage, sagging, bubbles, or other signs of structural weakness.

Call an Attorney If You Are Injured

If a bathroom ceiling collapsed and you are injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation. Depending on the extent of your injuries and the circumstances of the claim, you can be entitled to payment for your medical expenses, lost wages, the expense to relocate, and pain and suffering.

The Law Offices of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas in New York City are experienced premises liability/personal injury lawyers. We have worked on and won cases for clients who have been injured from collapsed ceilings.

For example, for one of our clients, we obtained more than $6.8 million in a case in which a 19-year-old nursing student sustained a back injury after being struck by a ceiling that fell on her while cleaning the bathtub. She had notified the landlord of the ceiling leak a month before the accident, and they failed to do anything about it.

In another case, our client was awarded $2.25 million after parts of a ceiling collapsed on him while he was taking a shower. He needed spinal surgery.

Our law firm cannot guarantee a similar outcome but can provide you with the expertise to navigate a premises liability lawsuit. We are experienced in dealing with a property owner’s insurance company, negotiating settlements, and taking a case to court.

Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas today.

Request a Free Consultation

    Accessibility Tools