On March 15th, the Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapsed, killing six people and injuring nine people. And, the first lawsuit relating to the tragedy has been filed, and it’s likely that more lawsuits will follow. A lawsuit has been filed by a bicyclist who was injured as a result of the bridge collapse.
The Allegations of the Complaint
According to the complaint, the cyclist, 24 year old Marquise Rashaad Hepburn, was riding under the bridge when a 174-foot span of the bridge fell onto traffic below. In an attempt to avoid the falling concrete, a driver swerved and ended up hitting Hepburn’s bicycle. The complaint claims that the companies who designed and constructed the bridge “drastically deviated” from safety protocols.
The lawsuit, claiming negligence, names the following companies as defendants:
FIGG Bridge Engineers and Munilla Construction Management — the company that designed and constructed the bridge;
Bolton Perez & Associates — the company that provided engineering and inspection services for the bridge; and
Louis Berger U.S. — the company that was responsible for performing a secondary review of the bridge’s design
While these companies haven’t commented on the lawsuit, they’ve all indicated that they’re pledging to cooperate with investigators. The Florida Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the bridge collapse, and the Miami-Dade Police Department has also indicated that they are launching a criminal investigation.
How the Tragedy May Have Been Prevented
The complaint states specific actions that could’ve possibly prevented the tragedy that resulted from the bridge collapse. One action that could’ve been taken, according to the complaint, was to re-route traffic while stress tests were being performed on the afternoon of the bridge collapse. The lawsuit also notes a voicemail left for a Florida Department of Transportation official on March 13th where the project’s lead engineer didn’t seem too concerned when describing that cracks were visible in the bridge.