A fire had broken out at a warehouse in Oakland, California and it led to the deaths of 36 people. This was a painful tragedy, to say the least. The fire occurred in the Ghost Ship warehouse, and what’s notable about this case is that the building was illegally converted to provide budding artists with a place where they can live and work. A music concert was being held when the fire broke out.
A legal recourse for the surviving relatives of the deceased victims as well as the injured is to file a civil suit against the landowners who converted the building for a purpose to which it wasn’t designed for.
Legal Violations are Common
It’s unfortunate, but illegally converted buildings aren’t all that rare in many parts of California due to high real estate costs. Low income workers including artists often have difficulty paying their rent or mortgage.It may be argued that some building owners are helping by converting their property into living spaces, despite the fact that they weren’t zone for residential use. On the other hand, these landowners may be neglecting the general duty of care that landlords owe to the people who rent the spaces they offer?
The question the court needs to determine is if the landlord acted within reason in regards with any safety issues in their buildings. The civil liability may be owed to everyone, regardless if they’re a leaseholder, an invited guest, or even a trespasser. It’s not just the landlord that may be held responsible too, as a renter may be sued by a guest they invited.
Personal Injury Attorneys Could Sue for Property Damage
It’s a point against the landlord if they illegally convert a building for residential use. In addition, there are likely several fire and safety code violations that come with this illegal conversion. The fact that the landlord violated these codes may have increased the risk to the people inside the buildings.
The suit may allege that the owner of the property owed a duty of care towards the people in the building, and that they violated such a duty by allowing dangerous conditions in the building or by failing to correct them promptly. They may also be cited for not properly warning people about the dangers in the first place.
The lawsuit must prove that this failure to fix the problem or to warn the people properly of the hazards is what caused the harm and injury to the plaintiff.
This can be a complex case. If you’re thinking of filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit you need an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney who can determine if there’s a good chance of winning the case. They can also discuss with you your legal options and the best course of action for your specific situation.