collapsed ceiling

Ceiling Collapse — What To Do In the Event of a Collapsed Ceiling

The Law Office Of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas

Frequently Asked Questions About a Ceiling Collapse

Ceiling collapses in a house can cause serious injury and damage to the room where there were ceiling failures. The Building Commission in fact reported that it had become aware of ceiling collapses particularly in homes constructed between 2005-2009. This prompted an investigation into the problem by the Building Commission .

What Causes a Ceiling Collapse?

A roof can collapse due to negligence or faulty actions. Common causes of a sudden ceiling collapse include:

  • Neglecting to perform or poorly performing routine maintenance
  • Incorrect access and use of roof space
  • Failing to treat infestations of termites or other pests
  • Not building the house to code, poor workmanship
  • Using inferior building materials, inappropriate materials
  • Failing to repair cracks, water damage, or leak issues

If you notice warning signs such as strange popping or creaking; visual cracking, including small circles or blisters (nail pops) on the ceiling; a loud cracking sound; plasterboard sheeting that may be pulling away; or sagging or dropping sections in your home, it’s important you notify your property manager right away. Don’t dismiss any of these warning signs. Also, make sure you document all of your communication; written records can help your case in the event of a catastrophe.

Can a Ceiling Collapse Kill You?

If you happen to be in a room when there is spontaneous ceiling collapse with no warning sign, you could be seriously injured or killed. Victims have reported injuries that range from minor cuts and bruises to severe trauma like broken bones, traumatic brain injury and paralysis.

How Long Does It Take to Fix a Collapsed Ceiling?

Minor repairs, such as fixing small sags or water spots, usually involve reattaching or removing and replacing patches of plaster or drywall. A professional can usually address these problems in a few hours or less.

If the entire ceiling fell or is sagging, the restoration, cleanup and replacement will take more time, typically one to three days. If the incident causes structural damage, it might take longer.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Collapsed Ceiling?

While the total cost of repairs depends on the composition and damage extent, the average price tag is as follows (note these prices may vary due to the rising cost of supplies and labor):

  • Fix a sagging ceiling: $250 to $1,000
  • Stop leaks or water damage: $500 to $2,500
  • Replace a ceiling: $400 to $1,000
  • Address structural damage: $2,000-$8,000

It’s possible that your landlord may be reluctant to fix “cosmetic issues” such as small water stains or water accumulation on the floor because of the cost. However, this kind of problem is usually indicative of more serious issues including black mold that could form due to roof leaks. These types of issues should always be addressed. An inspection should be conducted to determine the cause of the leaks with a report generated on how to repair the issues for your health and safety.

What Steps Should You Take After a Ceiling Failure?

If you suffer a personal injury in a ceiling collapse, seek medical attention immediately. Be prepared to keep records of your treatment. Afterward, take the following steps:

  1. Notify your landlord as soon as possible, both verbally and in writing.
  2. Take pictures of the ceiling, debris and your damaged property.
  3. Document your injuries and make a list of any damaged or destroyed belongings.
  4. Contact an attorney with experience in New York ceiling collapses.

The Law Office of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas (NTZ Law), among its numerous practice areas, specializes in collapsed ceiling cases. For example, we represented a nursing student who sustained a back injury and required surgery after being struck by a bathroom ceiling that fell on her. The case went to court and the jury found the landlord negligent for failing to repair the ceiling after it had leaked several times. The jury awarded the nurse $6,894,132 in compensation.

In another case, Mr. Tzaneteas represented a client who was injured after being struck by parts of the apartment ceiling while taking a shower. The client suffered a back injury and required spinal surgery. The jury awarded the client $2,250,000 as compensation for the injuries.

New York tenants have rights that protect their safety. If a falling ceiling caused property damage, serious injury or a fatality, contact us so that we can help. We are available to provide you with advice.

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