02.24.14 iStock_000000515036SmallImagine that you’re walking through a parking garage and you hear a crack and have only a split second to respond.  The sound you hear could be warning sound of 10-ton concrete ceiling panels becoming detached and dropping down on you. This scenario is a real personal injury case.

If the victim hires your law firm, you’re going to be on the phone in the heartbeat to secure the best construction expert witness.  You might quickly go out for site inspection and to secure documentation.  But what if when you got there, you realized it was a very old, municipal garage?

With a construction expert witness, you’re still covered.  Part of what an experienced construction expert offers is knowledge of industry standards over the course of time.  The expert will help you determine whether the construction method utilized at the time the garage was built was up to the building code and within industry standards at the time of construction.  He will also help you identify and dimension the standards for maintenance and inspections from the time of construction to the time of the incident.

The process is more interesting than you might think.  Continuing with this particular case, the construction expert witnesses were head-to-head on questions of installation of concrete panels through “drill and pound” methods or via predrilled holes lined with steel sleeves that were then linked to the wall with stainless steel pins.  The testimony also involved questions of “acceptable safety standards.”  Where testimony took a surprising turn were questions of bid specifications for the municipal project, and how it was that the company secured the winning bid did so at half the project cost of other companies bidding on the project.

It wasn’t just the installation method that was questioned.  The construction expert witnesses testified as to potential intervening acts, such as whether a truck could have driven into any of the surrounding panels.

Whether its cracks in the ceiling or in the floor, make sure your case is built on a strong foundation with the assistance of the best expert witness in construction.

By Paloma A. Capanna, Attorney & Policy Analyst