Questions still abound after the tragic collapse of New Orleans’ Hard Rock Hotel last week. On Sunday, two unstable cranes on the construction site were taken out with explosives in a step to make the building safe to enter. Search and rescue teams have since been allowed to enter the building, but a large police perimeter has blocked the partially collapsed building—and a chunk of the downtown—to protect against further potential danger from the still-unstable building. Will removal of the cranes help investigators figure out what happened? For their sake, the developer and contractors in charge of the site may hope the question stays unanswered as they prepare for an onslaught of lawsuits.
Looking for Liable Parties
Many people injured by the collapse are pursuing damages from the parties they deem at-fault:
- 1031 Canal Street (Developer)
- Citadel Builders (General Contractor)
- Harry Baker Smith Architects (Architecture)
- Heaslip Engineering (Structural Engineering)
- Moses Engineers (Mechanical Engineering)
As investigations continue, they may provide more clarity into which firm(s) were behind the deadly failures that led to the collapse. Over 50 subcontractors were also involved in the construction, and their roles must be evaluated as well.
Who’s Planning to Sue?
Anyone facing damages that stem from the accident may have cause for a lawsuit. From medical bills to missed work, those who were injured due to negligence by the developer and contractors may pursue damages to recoup the costs they’ve faced. The families who survive the three workers lost in the accident may also sue for wrongful death. The success of these lawsuits will depend on the plaintiffs’ abilities to prove negligence and/or misconduct by the project leads.
Cost-Cutting May Have Led to Deadly Collapse
Though no reports detailing what went wrong have been completed, contractors who worked on the project may have some insights. An as-yet unverified video posted two days before the collapse shows shoring posts inside the hotel bending under the weight of the structure. The contractor who shared the video (he did not create it) recounts hearing that the contractors overseeing the site had been warned of the potential dangers of having too few posts to hold the structure up but ignored the complaints.
Other workers have come forward to criticize the installation of metal decking that was installed counter to best practices. The concrete floors reportedly showed signs of strain, which might be attributed to this or a rushed concrete pour. Additionally, those in the know claim that contractors tried to cut costs by not hiring union labor—which means onsite workers may not have had the proper training or knowledge to keep the site safe. As soon as investigators have more access to the site, we will likely learn whether these, or other, factors were to blame for the collapse.
Protecting You Against Negligent Employers
Unsafe work environments hurt employees every year, especially those who work dangerous jobs like construction. It’s not acceptable for employers to put anyone in danger just so they can make a bit more off a project. This incident perfectly illustrates how such negligence can wreak irreversible tragedy on the lives of workers.