On March 15, 2018, South Florida fell victim to a disastrous bridge collapse. This bridge collapse claimed the lives of six people and ten others were left hospitalized. The bridge was erected for just five days before the accident happened. This giant new piece of infrastructure was 174 feet long combined with 950 tons and intended to reduce traffic around FIU’s sprawling campus. Two days before the collapse one of the lead engineers of the project left a voicemail with a state transportation official warning them of some identified “cracking,’ but did not consider it a safety issue at the time. This voicemail was not received until Friday when the official whom the message was intended for returned to the office after being out on assignment.
The FDOT has attempted to distance themselves from this travesty led by Governor Rick Scott who claimed it is an FIU (private college) project rather than their own, as well as FDOT spokesperson Dick Kane who released a statement stating “The responsibility to identify and address life-safety issues and properly communicate them is the sole responsibility of the FIU design build team,” leaving the blame on MCM and FIGG Bridge Group, who was selected by a committee including FDOT members.
As of March 20, 2018, two lawsuits have been filed against MCM and their hired private engineering firms. One of these lawsuits is being filed on behalf of Marquise Rashaad Hepburn who was on his bicycle traveling beneath the south end of the bridge when it collapsed. Mr. Hepburn was hospitalized with serious spinal injuries. The other suit was filed on behalf of Alberto Aries who was crushed with his partner during the collapse. Litigation is expected to take years to complete and many other legal claims made by victims are expected to be filed.
As of March 19, 2018, Governor Scott suspended all future payments in federal funding allocated towards this project, an approximate $13.6 million. This funding will be suspended until the National Transportation Safety Board finishes their investigation.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of others, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!
Written by Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.